RANK STRANGERS – Song by Ralph Stanley
At a church picnic in mid August I was told that an old family friend was not healthy. This man and his family had farmed the land back our lane east of Moreland when I was a boy. The next Sunday I went to visit him. He was not home, but what I want to report is not about the health of my friend, but the state of my home town… uh… ‘home village’ of Moreland.
I drove east on County Road 77, now called Moreland Road, and I mentally named every family as I went past their farms and homes: Franklin School, Hoy, Ackerman, Schmid (us) Kaufman, Baker, Clark, White, Hoffman, Beegle, Bricker, Leeper… In my mind I could see the people as I drove by. I was their paper boy and hired hand. I made hay on every field on that mile long road. I helped milk their cows and plow their fields. I could tell you what tractors they owned and what make (and year?) of pickup truck they drove.
About half way between Franklin School (my alma mater) and the Moreland Church, I started to realize: They’re all gone! Not one of the old neighbors in that mile stretch of “my” old road is still living! Only two of the farms are still in the same family: the Bakers and Whites. The second and third generations of Bakers and Whites are now living on those properties. All the other farms are owned by “newcomers.”
And wouldn’t you know? The next day my friend, Milt Helmuth (Illinois), sent a thought by a man named “Anon” that was exactly what I was muling over in my mind. Here it is:
In 100 years (2123 AD) we will all be buried with our relatives and friends. Strangers will live in the homes that we fought so hard to build and pay off. They will own everything we have today. All of our possessions will be gone: our homes, our land, our bank accounts, even our children. Our beautiful car will be scrap or in the museum of a collector.
Our descendants will hardly know who we were, nor will they remember us. (How many of us know our grandfather’s father?) After we die, we will be remembered for a few more years, then we are just a portrait on someone’s bookshelf, and a few years later our photos, deeds, activities and our stories will disappear in history’s oblivion. We won’t even be memories.
If we paused one day to analyze these thoughts, perhaps we would understand how ignorant and weak the dream to achieve it all was. If we could only think about this, surely our approaches and our thoughts would change, we would be different people. Are we always wanting more? Have we no time for what’s really valuable in this life…?
If I could, I would change all this to live and enjoy the walks I’ve never taken, the hugs I didn‘t give, those kisses for our children and our loved ones, the conversations we didn’t have time for. Those would certainly be the most beautiful moments to remember. After all, that’s what fills our lives with joy. And here we are, wasting it day after day with busyness, worry, anxiousness, desire for more… We are missing what really matters.
This article from Milt sure hit home after the “Moreland Reminder” of how brief life is and how things change and what is really important in life.
Folks, life is short! Make every day count.
“What is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” -James 4:14 “Today is the day of salvation.” -2 Cor. 6:2
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever(!).” –Hebrews 13:8
Only one life and soon ‘tis past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.