Thursday. I used to always associate home with where my parents lived, where my sister and I grew up. That was home.
I recently looked up the definition of home: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household; a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.
The definition includes the idea that home is not only where one originates, it’s where one flourishes. Not every home is perfect — well, not even one is perfect. But, in the midst of all the imperfections and stumbles, mistakes and apologies, it’s a true blessing when love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness are there — that’s when flourishing takes place.
Homecoming: Jim and I traveled over to Winston-Salem for Homecoming at Wake Forest the weekend before last. Interesting how “at home” we feel on the college campus after all these years! And I am just certain that the reason Homecomings are celebrated in the fall is because that’s when the weather is generally spectacular with blue, blue skies, crisp weather, amazingly colorful leaves that have not, as yet, fallen from the trees. The campus seemed to hum with excitement, filled with returning alumni strolling around, rekindling old memories while creating new ones. Then at church this past Sunday, it was Homecoming Sunday. The service was highlighted by a sermon from a former beloved pastor who camped on the whole idea of coming home. He gave a definition of home as the place where, when you go there, they have to let you in. Let’s hope that the opening-of-the-door includes some happiness that you have arrived!
Speaking of home: our house in TX is on the market. It’s been our home for the past 16 years, although we’ve been largely absent over the past five and a half years. Still, the memories of our lives lived under that roof (which, yes, we did replace…) will always evoke home to us. It’s been unusual for us to live in one place for so many years; heretofore, we’ve moved every two to three years. Our first move, in 1983, was just two hours up the road. In some ways it was the hardest one as the adjustments required were not familiar to me yet. Over the years, some things about moving became routine — having to learn my way around in a new city (not so easy for those of us who are directionally challenged!), jumping into activities before knowing anyone just to meet people, having to step outside of my comfort zone, finding out that I could do things I didn’t know I could do…. Establishing a home: it’s not so much about the house, condo, apartment, or tent, even — it’s the love of those who dwell within which defines it and provides the anchor.
With our house on the market, Jim and I are temporarily in NC for the fall months. I guess it’s caused me to think a lot about where home actually is. Growing up, “home” seemed so permanent, since we did not move all around the globe. But my kids have had a different experience. I am guessing they see “home” as more temporary in nature. Or they look deeper for the permanence. I remember one time asking Jack what his answer would be when asked where he was from. He had just returned from summer camp, and we had only lived in Dallas for a year. He said he always answered wherever he lived, so his answer was Dallas, even though he had lived in seven different homes in other cities… and I thought, “good answer!” *(sidenote: tonight my brother-in-law, sister, and I got to talking about the proverbial tortoise and the hare, and we all had a good laugh when he pointed out how lucky the tortoise is that he never has to pay a mortgage since he carries his home on his back. He is always at home, no matter where he goes! Ha!)
I love the Carrie Underwood song — the words go something like this: “this is my temporary home, it’s not where I belong… just a stop on the way to where I’m going…” Yes! It’s so true! No matter where we originated, grew up, lived the longest, live presently, may move — there is a temporary nature to home in this life. We have a destination ahead, not on this earth, and that is our true home! Just remembering this important fact helps me to feel God’s anchor, no matter where we are.
Psalm 84: 1-4 How lovely is Your dwelling place, LORD of Hosts. I long and yearn for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God. Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself where she places her young near Your altars, LORD of Hosts, my King and my God. How happy are those who reside in Your house, who praise You continually.