Someone inquired shortly before Hubby returned from a trip “How long is he visiting?” They caught themselves and said “I mean home. How long is he home?” We laughed and went on with our conversation but that distinction between visiting and home didn’t leave me. What does home mean? Is it the house we live in, the family we belong too? Is home “where the heart” is? If so doesn’t the heart often wander? Is home the place we long for when we are away from it for too long? People in strange environments often describe their experience as “feeling at home”. I myself have used the term “home” to describe how I feel.
When I accepted my current position I described being there as “I’m home”. I didn’t mean I was going to put a cot in the corner of my office and move in. (Though Hubby may tell you me doing so would not surprise him.) I meant my heart was settled. Perhaps home is so often associated with where we live because we are most ourselves in that place.
There’s another cliché “you can never go home again”. Places change. I can tell you growing up no matter what was going on in life my parents’ house was home. It was the place I safe and most comfortable. I can also tell you that once it was time for me to move out and go to college that it has never again been home for me. I love my parents, but after a day or two something in me becomes overwhelmed by “I don’t belong here.”
Sometimes we’re prompted to leave the place that feels like home. God called Abram saying “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” So Abram did. He didn’t know where he was going to end up, but when God said go he left. And yet despite any doubts I can’t help but wonder if there was a peace in Abram’s heart, a sense of home, because he was in line with God’s will.
My sister once told me she can always tell when God’s about to move in my life because I get restless. I knew the behavior she was describing, a nervous fidget, increased sighing and lots of pacing. The same behaviors I exhibit when I have visited a place to long and know “This is no longer where I belong.” I can’t help it. Regardless of what my mind thinks or my mouth says there is something in my inner most being that knows it’s time to go. Like an animal fleeing a storm that hasn’t crested the horizon my soul yearns to move far before it knows a time or direction.
What if home isn’t a place or a people. What if home is knowing we are, at any given moment, right where God wants us to be? What if restlessness is the soul sorting through what to take with it and what to put to the street? And perhaps that mean areas of our life can be at home while others are not. Perhaps I’m at home in my vocation, but God is calling me to move from where I am spiritually to a new home he will show me? By this criteria when posed with the question is Hubby home or just visiting the answer is “Yes.” And my answer for what is home? The answer has to be “In the perfect will of God.”
“Jesus replied ‘All who love me will do what I say.
And the Father will love them and we will make a home with each of them.”