Our extended family has had a cottage at Lake Webster for more than 70 years. I have memories of going to the beach there, on the grounds of the United Methodist camp site known as Epworth Forest, as a young boy. I learned how to row a boat at Lake Webster. I learned how to catch bluegill (and one spectacular bass) at Lake Webster. I remember spending evenings on the sternwheeler -the Dixie- that would circle the lake picking up passengers.
Since we were missionaries we moved all around the world, it seemed. We seemed to always be on the go. But we would always come back to the cottage at Lake Webster. Then, I grew up (okay...maybe I didn't grow up but I got to the point in life where people expect you to have a job!) and our family moved around. As the family of a United Methodist pastor does. But we always came back to the cottage at Lake Webster.
Ten years ago this past spring my Mom died of pancreatic cancer. Since then I haven't enjoyed going to Lake Webster because the cottage reminds me of her absence.
Now, though, our two granddaughters have decided they love going to Lake Webster. We've just spend three days with them. Ella walked with me on the pier, last night, after a sunset trip around the lake on the ski boat. Both Grandpa and her Mommy went skiing. Ella said to me, "I have had so much fun at the cottage!"
So now the cottage is a good place to go, for me. The girls and their presence have reclaimed this holy ground for me. Their love fills the place. My Mom's picture is still on the door of the fridge. I still sometimes stop, as I swing in the hammock in the front yard, and say, "Oh, Mom..." Bryan, our oldest son, reminded me today as we swam down at the beach how my Mom would wear a rubber swimming cap and swim laps back and forth across the swimming area.
I miss my Mom. But Ella and Olivia have reclaimed this holy ground for me. They have blessed it. They have sanctified it with their gracious -and sometimes very loud!- presence.