It’s been on my mind a lot lately. Home: where is it? What is it? With whom is it? These are the questions I wonder about these days.
Maybe it’s just me; but then I’m guessing the songs about it from the past few years wouldn’t be so popular if it was just me who wondered about home. Check out “Home” sung by Phillip Phillips, “The House that Built Me” sung by Miranda Lambert, “A Way Back to Then” from [title of show], “There’s A Place for Us” sung by Carrie Underwood, and even “Never Grow Up” sung by Taylor Swift. It seems many of us yearn to know our home.
I know I’m fortunate always to have the home of my childhood — where my parents and sisters still live. Home there included endless hours of building sand castles on the beach, leaf houses on the front lawn each fall, lots of Rook (the card game) and now Skipbo. It wasn’t perfect. I didn’t always feel understood. Sometimes I was really lonely. But it was home. With the unconditional love of mom and dad and all my sisters — all their support, encouragement, and belief in me. The older I get, the more I cherish that home. The more I wish I had heeded the kind of wise advice Taylor Swift gives in “Never Grow Up.” “Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room. Memorize what it sounds like when your dad gets home. Remember the footsteps. Remember the words said. Remember your little brother’s favorite songs” (bridge in “Never Grow Up,” sung by Taylor Swift on Speak Now).
But what of those who don’t know such a home? What of those where sand castles and family fun and unconditional love is (or was) not the norm?
What does home look like for those under attack, like the people trying to live today in Gaza and Israel? What does home look like for those who have been forcibly exiled from the land of their ancestors? What does home look like for the immigrant who seeks to build a life in a new place? What does home look like for those put out of their biological families? What does home look like to you? Who is there with you? Because let’s face it: it really is the tribe that loves you, warts and all, that makes home. What has to be a part of it? Are 2.5 bathrooms really more important than peace, safety, the joy of a true haven from the demands of this world? What if home is what you feel in a pulpit — as I often do when leading worship among God’s people? What if home is just you and your cherished pet, or you and your beloved flower beds, or you and your best friend, or you and the indentation of where your loved one used to sleep in the bed next to you?
What if no matter how far we roam, how much good we do, how many amazing people surround us in our lives — what if, even with all that, we are not home yet and never will be until at last we rest fully in the One who is Home eternally for us all?
Home . . . I am grateful for the gift of the one I had in the past, the one I so graciously have today, and the one yet to come at my end.
What about you: what, where, and who is your home?