Playhouse, September 22, 2010

It’s become somewhat of a routine now – traveling to and from the nursing home on Hwy 30. Tonight’s trip home was just before sunset, and the layer of deep orange falling below the tree line ushered me into a meditative mood.

The Old Testament speaks of God’s people erecting stone altars along their journeys as a memorial to God’s faithfulness. As I traveled down Hwy 30 I was reminded that the entire drive from New Albany to Etta could be my personal memorial to God’s faithfulness.

Eli once asked me, “Wonder how many times we’ve driven back and forth on this highway – from home to school and back – to ballgames and back?” During school days it was two roundtrips and add a third on the days Eli forgot his tennis shoes. Amazing that in all those trips, there were no flat tires or breakdowns on the side of the road. Erect a monument to God’s faithfulness!

West Union school appeared on my right. How many times we had turned into that drive! Then the familiar curve beyond the school – the kids were in elementary and we were commuting in a “tired” vehicle that housed a temperamental transmission. In that curve, the car suddenly slowed down and began jerking in a rhythmic whip-lashing stop and start. Tahya spotted it first – a highway patrol car parked on the shoulder. “Don’t stare!” I urged the kids as we slowly “hopped” past the patrol car. I’m certain he was mesmerized because he didn’t pull us over. Add another stone of remembrance.

Just beyond that curve came the straightaway that had one night been a sheet of ice during Eli’s basketball days. We questioned the wisdom in traveling on such a treacherous night, but Eli pleaded. He had gotten a varsity suit. He had to be at the game. Our vehicle left the highway, and we sailed through a soybean field, missing power poles and the ditch. All four of us added stones to that memorial.

In just a few miles my routine drive carried me over the Tallahatchie bridge. Tonight the waters were separated by occasional sandbars, but so many times we’ve crossed it at flood stage. The entire bottom would be a swirling brown lake and the rushing channel waters very deep and angry. Would the bridge be safe? Would the strong currents ever wash the aging supports from their deep bed?

Those questions came to my mind during those flooded crossings, but the old bridge still stands and braces for the flood waters of another hurricane season. Erect another stone of remembrance for God’s faithfulness.

 There it is – the turn I’ve been anticipating. Othel has the porch lights burning. I turn up the familiar drive. It’s lined with large boulders – lovely gray ones that are synonymous with the Etta terrain. And intermingled are a multitude of monuments – stones of remembrance to God’s faithfulness.  

About Chris Elkins

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