There was a place in my childhood my family often visited and which sticks in my memory as one of those timeless places, a place where I loved to go and relax in my busy life. I have been there only four times in my adult life, but the place always communicates to me serenity and peace, one of God's special places where I could lay down my burdens and the cares of the world for a while. We affectionately referred to that place as 'the Lake' with no qualifier needed to further identify it.
Actually, it is a piece of property on Summit Lake, about eight miles west of Olympia, WA. My grandparents (on my mom's side) bought the property shortly after I was born. It was a place where the family (my mom and her four sisters and all their families) often gathered for picnics, a swim, a day of rest, or just to hang out together. Here I am on the dock at the lake when I was two.
Over the years the place has changed, and the other properties on the lake have become more built up, but it remains a place of serenity and peace. Here's a photo of my family in 1968 at the back of the cabin. I'm the oldest boy in the picture. You can see the lake through the window in the background.
Here's another photo from when I visited as an adult, in 1984, just before I went to Niger. This was a morning shot, and you can see how calm the water is.
When my grandparents died, my aunt and uncle bought the place and built onto the back of the old red cabin, putting a second story on the addition. They added heat and a few other amenities that we didn't have in the old days, and now live there permanently. Today the lake looks like this from the renovated cabin. Note the houses on the other side of the lake.
And here is what the cabin looks like today from the dock.
Just over a week ago, I had another chance to visit 'the Lake.' We went to Washington state to visit family, friends, and supporters, and speak at a church (Lake City Community Church). Since my mom was born and raised there, we took her along, since she can no longer travel by herself. We had the chance to spend six days at the lake with my aunt and uncle and enjoy the peace and quiet. We also attended a family reunion at the Lake on Sat, Aug 7. It was the annual Keller family picnic at the lake. About 50 relatives showed up from all different branches of the family, and though it was cloudy, cool, and showery, we all had a great time catching up on each other's lives.
Sadly, this may be the last time I will see the lake. My aunt and uncle aren't sure they can live there much longer. They themselves may not live much longer, and since it could be a while before we get out there, I may not see them again this side of heaven. That goes for the other aunts and uncles. And it may be the last time this side of heaven that my mom will get to see the lake and her earthly home.
When I think of my mansion in heaven, I want it to be the lake. I'm looking forward to seeing all my family there one day.
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