Simply Wood & Dust

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and dust destroy; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” ~Jesus [matthew 6.19-20]

Last weekend when I was back home in Vidor, my mom and dad informed me that the house that I spent many sick days from school and 4pm coffee breaks on a daily basis is going to have to be destroyed soon. I had the amazing privilege of living right across the street from the most amazing great-grandparents in the world. They lived in this ultra-small house that was built back toward the beginning of last century on a monster plot of land that would later house my house, my grandparents, and a few sets of aunts and uncles. Tell me you’re not jealous of small town life right now!

Their house may have been suitable for a one-bedroom apartment by today’s standards, but it definitely didn’t feel like that growing up. I remember going over to that house almost daily growing up for a special concoction made just for me because I couldn’t really drink coffee with the grown-ups. We would sit, talk, drink, and share life with each other. Nothing much more seemed to matter than what was happening right at that moment. My great-grandfather would come in from a long days work in his garden and sit with us, all dirty and tired, and tell cool stories from when he was growing up in the boonies of Louisiana.

My great-grandmother (GG) could make the most out of practically anything on earth. Even though the roof of her little white house was falling in around her, she managed to do something that cost absolutely nothing to make it to where you never noticed the imperfections. But, even if the inside of this place didn’t look like the real White House, you could always expect the outside to be thriving with amazing plants encompassing the place.

The years have passed now, one after another, since they have moved on to their real mansion, and little by little, that beautiful relic of what was, has become little more than a heap of rubbish.

As I tip-toed through the house with Sara and my parents, I was reminded how completely useless all these things that we accumulate really are. When I think about the way they lived their lives, the word “simplicity” comes to mind right off. They didn’t live their lives around getting the newest, cutest things that Target has this month… they were all about “reduce, reuse, recycle”.

Yet, when they threw shovel-load after shovel-load of dirt over that silver box in the ground years ago, the only thing that fit in the box was a ratty old suit… and even that didn’t get magically transported to eternity.

When I sit back and think about where I want to be in 30 years or so, those two people almost always come to mind. No, they didn’t change the world in some amazing way that would be cause for a bestselling book. But, somehow, deep down I think they really got it. They lived and loved Jesus with a very simple whole-hearted devotion. They loved their family like crazy. They were devoted to the church until the very last day.

They never got too wrapped up in the things of this world. And for that reason, I don’t really think it would be that big of a deal for them to see the few things that they possessed on this earth sitting in ruins about to be bulldozed and spread across a field that used to be flourishing and now is simply overgrown. They would probably just laugh and say, “yup, that’s what we thought would happen to all that crap!”


7 thoughts on “Simply Wood & Dust

  1. This post is so true! That is exactly what I was thinking when I walked around this house. It was amazing to see that the way you leave your house when you are gone is how it is going to stay. There are shirts left in the closet, dishes in the drying rack, and magazines left on the table. None of these things matter any more, and whether you have tommy hilfiger in the closet or wal-mart brand, they are still going to hang there…useless. I think it truly reminded me how unimportant our possessions are, and this post reminds me how important our life witness is…because that is the most beautiful thing you can leave behind.

  2. You are so right Ryan, your GG and PawPaw “got it”. I can not think of anything they would be more proud of than to think that “you got it”!

    You are so much like GG, I am so grateful for that. I will be forever thankful for all of those special days that she would babysit you and begin to expose you to a life that was simple, but yet a lady that was in so many ways anything but simple. I’m laughing and crying as I just typed that sentence and you know why.

    I hope that you will take all the wisdom that you acquired from those precious years you spent with them and apply it to your life daily, and eventually one day pass it along to your children.

    To all the grandparents that may be reading this post…I challenge you to be such an example to your grandchildren. Don’t let this crazy world deceive you…your grandchildren need you in their life and they need to learn from your wisdom.

  3. Ryan, we had the wonderful priviledge of knowing your great-grandparents. They were both ‘jewels’. Of course, my children called her ‘grandma Stagg’ or Stagg. She kept Ben when I went to the hospital to have Beau! Well, she kept him for a few hours while my mom was out doing something else. She also helped me with them a time or two when I needed someone to babysit for an hour or so. Ben & Beau loved grandma Stagg–they would beg to go to her house. I would take them to visit her & we always went outside to look at things they grew. She even took us back to your great Uncle Charles’ creation in the woods. My little boys were in awe. I still have books she gave them when they were growing up, and stayed with her in the nursery at FBC. She was indeed one special lady. Thanks for the memories of your GG in writing this blog. I enjoyed every word!

  4. Hey those are some great pictures. I remember the days over @ GGs that she would give me ginger snaps while they drank the coffee every afternoon. And what i remember of GG she was full of love and excitement! I miss those times dearly!

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