Hebrews 13:14 – For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
|My Uncle, Gilbert Bigham|
Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to Clinton, SC with Mom to visit some relatives. My 97-year-old uncle, Gilbert Bigham (my Grandma Wingo’s brother and last living sibling), has lung cancer. So Mom and I went to see him. While there, we visited several other relatives and heard many stories about our family history. I saw where my Grandpa Wingo grew up and stopped by Bellview Baptist church (the church my ancestors helped found by donating land).
I have a rather large family. Grandma was one of eleven siblings and one adopted child. (So you can imagine how many cousins and aunts and uncles we have.) Unfortunately, I didn’t see many of my relatives as I was growing up. While most of my extended family lived in the Clinton and Laurens, SC area—and many still do—my grandparents were more like Abraham and Sara from the Bible; they moved away from home to make a new life.
|My Grandpa's Childhood Home|
|Bellview Baptist Church - Laurens, SC|
First, my grandparents moved to Savannah, GA where my mom was born while Grandpa built ships for World War II. Then, Grandpa went to Europe to fight the War. Afterwards, my grandparents moved to Ohio and lived in a few different towns before settling down in Marengo. Mom persisted in her parents’ migratory methods. She graduated high school and moved to Washington DC where she worked for the FBI and met my dad.
I was born in Maryland and lived in two different towns in that state—North Beach until I was 6 and then Silver Springs. The school kids in Maryland joked about the “southern” accent I inherited from my parents until I was 8 and my family move to Macon, GA. It was closer to my Dad’s family, but miles from anything I was used to. Now, the school kids said I sounded like a “Yankee”. We moved one more time, just far enough that I had to change schools.
Now, I’m not whining. I was used to all this moving. It was sad to leave friends and homes behind, but it’s just who we were. Looking back know, I realize this was a legacy that went back a long way in my family—at least to my Grandma and Grandpa Wingo. What urged Grandma and Grandpa to wander away from Clinton, SC when everyone else stayed? Was God leading them to find a new “Promised Land” like Abraham and Sara of the Bible? I don’t know, but I realize it prepared me for the life I live as an itinerant Methodist preacher. Since Kelly and I married 23 years ago, we have moved from Macon to Marietta to Lithia Springs to Griffin to Forsyth and now we live in Dalton. And if the Lord is willing, we will have many more cities and towns to call our “home” over the next 40+ years.
People often ask, “Where’re you from?” Well, you tell me. Where am I from? Where is my “home”? Is it where I was born or where I first went to school? Is my home where I met my wife and got married? Is it where I graduated from high school or college or seminary? Is my home where I live now or where I’m going next? Or is “home” in Clinton, SC where my ancestors came from or Ireland or France where their ancestors came from? Well, my life and my faith have taught me this: “Home” is not some place you go back to; “Home”—our real Home—is where we are going. With Jesus help, we shall get there one day. Of course, I’m no expert and I certainly don’t claim to know everything, but that’s the Truth as far as I can tell…
Remember, God loves you and so do I!