I'm sitting at my Dad's place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, waiting for a friend to pick me up. I went to college here, so in some ways, GR is 'home'. My sister and her daughter and my brother and his son have been here, too. It's the first time in many years that we three kids have all been together. It was way past due, but even more important since the next 12 - 18 months are going to be a bit crazy with me moving out of the country.
Some of my friends from college still live in the area, as well as a lot of our extended family. Last night we got to see some of our cousins and some of their kids. What a joy to see how God has been at work in all of their lives. It is a comfort to recall that even though I've been rather remiss in keeping touch, our loving Father is not! It's also got me thinking about the word 'Home'.
Whenever anyone asks me "Where are you from?" I take a deep breath before I start to answer. I was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, but we lived in a little town called Nobleford, then we moved to Toronto, Ontario, then to Calgary, Alberta. I went to college in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and my family moved to Long Island my freshman year. I got married and moved to Greenwood, South Carolina, then Greenville, NC, now Harrisonburg. But... where's home? Well, right now it's here, but then it will be the D.R.
For some who've always lived in one place, I think it can be disconcerting to find that I don't have 'roots'. It's not a good or a bad thing to have moved a lot (and, compared to some of my friends who add one or two other continents, mine is a short-list!) it's just different. Sometimes I envy those who have lived in the same place, whose kids walk the same streets they did, who attend the same church, school, etc. Home for them is tied to a place, and there are days when feeling rootless and floating is not comfortable.
I've always been a bit on the 'outside' of every place I've lived. With American parents, we were always a bit different than our Canadian friends. As a 'Yankee' in the south, I didn't quite fit in. Now, I'll be living as a 'gringa' in the D.R. Sometimes I do wish I was part of that 'permanent' group. Those for whom, "It's where the old Lowe's was" is a meaningful direction! But, I also know that being slightly on the outside has allowed me to connect with those who don't quite fit, either.
I pray as I step into yet another place where "Usted sabe, donde la tienda vieja fue" is of no help to me, I will be able to use that displaced feeling to connect with others who are seeking connection. Because, truthfully, none of us are really home. We're all outsiders, because our citizenship is in Heaven. Until we get there, nothing is going to completely feel 'right'.
That's not a reason for dismay, it's actually hopeful. It means when we feel out of place, we're not weird or mixed up. It's natural and appropriate to feel slightly 'off'. Sitting here at my Dad's is home in a way because this is where family is right now. As we all head out to go back to our other homes (Kari to Boston, Mike to Long Island, me to Harrisonburg) we'll still be part of each other. More than our little family, we'll also still be part of the bigger family of believers.
Some day, we'll all get to go Home. And for my family, that will also mean being reunited with our Mom who is already there. I'm looking forward to that day, when she'll get to show me around the place! And together we'll worship Jesus! Hooray! Until then, I pray even in my discomfort and displacement, I see echoes of that Home. That I'll help point others to our Father, who is preparing a place for us where we will finally be where we are longing to be. Home.