“The Old Home Place”

My wife, Darlene, and I strained our eyes and our imaginations to try and see the outline of the old home place beneath the millions of gallons of water created by the construction of the Norris Dam and Reservoir in eastern Tennessee by the TVA during the nineteen thirties.  It is a little north of Knoxville and was built for the dual purposes of economic development and flood control.  We were told by relatives that one could still see the outline of the farm house from atop the dam.  My grandpa, Frank, and his family were one of the 2,841 families relocated to build the 1,860 foot long by 265 foot high dam. We had come to this area from Colorado in hopes of connecting with my roots. Although we were never sure if we saw the old home place, we did visit with some of Frank’s kinfolk. Uncle Ed had a very nice farm not far from the dam but humbly said, “Nah, it has two rocks for every dirt.”

One can only imagine the life my relatives lived in that little farm. I’d like to think it was just like the TV program of some years ago, “The Waltons.” But as we have said before, “nostalgia wears blinders”.  For whatever reason, grandpa left that beautiful area at a very young age for the flat plains of western Kansas and a successful life as a custom cutter and junk dealer.

Christians also leave behind a former life when they are born again. (Jo 3: 3-5) Most of the books of the New Testament tell us of the things we must put off in order to put on new ones. (Eph 4:28) (Eph 5:15-18)  As we grow in attitude and mind (Rom 12:2 & 9-18) we should see our former life become as murky as that old home place in Tennessee.  There are very few things we need to feel nostalgic about, rather we should rejoice with Paul and Peter that we have “a building from God, a house in heaven.” (2 Cor 5:1) (2 Pe 1:13) I feel very certain that the families affected by the dam and reservoir, after many warnings and fair reimbursement, moved out and none drowned.  Unfortunately, many people today cling to their old home place (life-style) even after many warnings and will be lost forever. (2 Pe 3: 9-12)

–Jim Bailey