It was the last act of love from my father to me and my siblings, the remnants of everything he had worked for his entire life, handed to me on a piece of paper. We had just closed on his house and property and we each received a check as our portion of the inheritance.
Dad had passed away a few years earlier. After his funeral, I stood in the bathroom looking out the window over his back yard and into the fields behind the house. For almost ninety years he trampled around these grounds. As a young child he would no doubt run and play and he also told stories of plowing the fields behind the house with a mule. Then as a grown man, he worked those same fields with a tractor, plowing and planting rows of corn, potatoes, and other vegetables; I can still see him carrying food out to the pigs, chickens and cows. In his later years, he would sit on the back patio, drink coffee while watching the sun set, and feed his pet squirrels or chat with visitors.
The land had been in our family for generations. Dad had grown up in the house just two doors down. My great grandfather owned hundreds of acres which was divided up between his children. Then my grandfather’s land was split up among his five children when he passed, leaving my dad with several acres on which to farm and raise his family.
As a child, I would ride my bike along the country roads past my three aunt’s houses. I always I had a sense that this was our little corner of the earth. With relatives living all round, It just felt like it belonged exclusively to us.
But that day after his death, realizing that after almost ninety years, my father would never walk these grounds again, the reality set in that we really don’t own anything on this earth. We only get to use it while we are here and then we must leave it for someone else. This is not our permanent home. We’re just passing though.
“For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” 1 Corinthians 10:26.