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“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou 

I’m moving…again.  I just counted, and in my 29 years I have had 28 different address that I can remember. Time and time again I have completely uprooted my life and moved to find a new home. When I get asked the question (which is generally on a daily basis!) where are you from? It’s never an easy answer for me. I usually make up a short abbreviated answer, or just say from my mom.  But the more accurate response sounds like…I don’t really know…because I was born in Minnesota, grew up in California and North Dakota, and went to college in New York and Minnesota.  I just moved from Montana, but Oregon was actually my last home.  I now live in Carrboro, NC… but I’m moving next week. These years of living a gypsy or almost fugitive lifestyle have rewarded me many adventures, but have also left me with a lot of thoughts, questions and desires for home. 

So what actually is home? Where is home? Is home your street address? Is home your family? Is home where you surround yourself with familiar objects that make you feel comfortable and secure? Because if this is the case…sometimes my car and tent feel more like home that a house with awkward roommates! And then there is that old saying…home is where the heart is. Well then…how do we know where our heart is!?

Home is loving people…

I think home is complicated and multi-faceted, and a couple of these facets are defiantly love, family and friends.  I have lived in some incredibly beautiful places in my life, but unless the beautiful place is full of love and great people, it does not feel like a home. I have visited tiny straw huts in India that were bursting with love and laughter, with families that welcome me with open arms to share a patch of their mud floor and a pile of rice. And I have also been a house guest in massive opulent homes in Europe and the US with empty bedrooms and excessive square feet, which did not have adequate ‘room’ to welcome guests. In case you are wondering…the dirt floor felt much more like a home. Maybe home is where you are appreciated not tolerated!

Home is an idea…

As a traveling sales women I get to spend many nights driving on dark country roads. Each time I pass a cute house with a wide porch (every house in the south has a porch) casting a warm glow from its shuttered windows, I get this comforting longing to be perfectly warm and cozy in that home. There is something about cold dark nights and the glow of lamplight from windows, which just spells comfort, security and home. I have a feeling this is exactly the way Pa felt when he was coming home from a cold, snowy hunting trip and would see the warmth of the welcoming lights from his Little House in the Big Woods. But I know this sense of home is just an idea…those homes are not filled with perfect love and peace, security and contentment. More than likely they are filled with discontent and hurting broken families, who are also lost and looking for home.

Home is a memory…

Looking back on my life there is one perfect moment where I truly felt the deepest sense of home…I was a little girl, probably three or four…it was Christmas time at Grandma and Grandpas. I have a vivid memory of sitting on Grandpas lap after all the presents had been open, watching the fire crackle in the fireplace, the mantel was decorated with poinsettias and pudgy old fashion red-cheeked Santa’s and I remember marveling at how rich Grandpa must be because he never has to spend those rolls of hundred dollar bills that sat in the wood box, (later in my life I was disappointed to find out they were decorative fire starters). The smell of wood smoke in a fireplace always reminds me of this moment when I felt perfectly content, secure, loved and happily home.  Home is also being at the farm, sitting behind our woodstove, drinking pots of coffee, eating cinnamon rolls, with nothing to do but enjoy family all day.

Home is a longing…

I think our heart are always trying to get home…and the only way I can describe this longing is the desire to go back to our childhood vision of home… to be little kids again when we knew we would always be loved and protected. Home is the desire to find the present cozy comfort of those window houses, but it’s also the need to experience the joy that mountains, oceans, sunsets and new adventures bring. So how do we satisfy this yearning in our hearts for home?  I can’t go back to that moment of love and security as a little girl on Grandpas lap…that’s impossible.  We can’t climb into the warm cozy window houses…that would be creepy. And when we try to get together with family and friends to recreate those perfect moments, it’s never quite perfect. People grow up, people change, they have families, and schedules. Life has a way of interfering and we can never seem to find the time to just appreciate one another.

I think all these longings combined show us that unsatisfied yearning of hearts, is a longing for heaven. C.S. Lewis explains “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”  He also talks about an innate deep desire that “always reminds, beckons, and awakes desire…it is our desire for a heavenly homeland”  

So maybe we don’t satisfy the longing…another C.S. Lewis quote reads “Our best having’s are wanting’s.” If this is true, we will spend our entire lives with an unquenched longing …so maybe we just need to enjoy the wanting and recognize that life is just a journey towards Home.

Life is a Homecoming…

Whenever I get to feeling like a homeless lost puppy, I remind myself that Jesus was a bit of a nomad himself. During His life here on earth Jesus had a hometown of Nazareth, but his life was a moving ministry. When He said “foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” He knew his life on earth was just a temporary sojourn and soon He would be going to his true Home.  Towards the end of his life on earth Jesus gives us a beautiful promise… “In my Father’s house there are many rooms…and I am going to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 .He says I going home to get the place ready…and I’ll come back and get you when it’s party time.  It’s just like mom having to get home early to cook and clean, because everyone is coming home for a holiday! When when that day comes… it will be the wedding where you actually get to spend time with everyone, it will be the family reunion that no drama, sickness, or sin can ruin, and it will be perfect holiday that will go on forever…and then we will all truly be Home. 

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