On the inside of that section where the cut-off turns north to the driveway, stands four live oaks all growing out of the same spot. I am not certain if it is one huge tree with four large trunks or four smaller trees that have finally grown into one. Lucas and Nathan called it “the fort.” Growing up they played in, on, and around it. You can climb up between the trees on a sort of ledge that hooks them together, and climb my little guys did.
The “fort” was not always a fort. Sometimes it was a castle, sometimes it was a spaceship, sometimes it was a hideout, but it was always a source of imaginative entertainment for little boys who didn’t have a whole lot else except sticks and roots shaped like pistols, rifles, ray guns, phasers, and bazookas—at least to them.
This past year Silas and Judah finally reached the age that they could enjoy the fort. Uncle Lucas got them started, showing them how to turn ordinary bark, sticks, and tree knots into weapons, controls, and push buttons. Now they clamber all over that same clump of giant oak trees, grown even closer together now that they are older, with even more ledges and platforms to stand on and jump off. It feels good to walk by that old favorite spot of my boys and know that a new generation is enjoying it too.
This will probably be the last generation of Wards to know the magic of that special spot. Neither of the boys is in a position to move back to this acreage and we will probably reach a point where we can no longer take care of it before the new generation even grows to adulthood. We will need the money it brings to buy us a smaller, easier place to live.
Think about that the next time you assemble with your brethren. I don’t mean think about how the next generation will use the building or whether they will understand the sacrifices made to build it, the men who made it their business to watch over the construction, the women who furnished the classrooms and dolled up the restrooms the way men would never even think to. Think about what goes on in that building. When all of the older generation is gone, the ones who fought the battles and stood for truth no matter how unpopular it was, will the younger generation even know what that truth is? Will they understand the thought processes that produced a generation of faithful men and women?
Maybe some other family will someday own our land and figure out what that group of live oaks “really” is even with no one to tell them, but somehow I doubt that a generation so used to the here and now of social media and the pizzazz of loud, splashy entertainment that leaves no room for imagination will even have a clue. Tell them it’s a spaceship and they will likely look at you like you’re nuts.
Far more important is to be able to tell the next generation of Christians that “this”—whatever this is at the moment—is truth, and have them comprehend its importance.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2Tim 2:1-2