I truly enjoy travel, trips, and adventure.
I also greatly cherish returning home.
Many good things arise in chances to get away. I loved the opportunity to put work aside for the past week and be refreshed. More than that, I truly enjoyed spending time with my family. I see things in a new light when I step away a while; I think we all do. Also, when my environment changes and I am out of my normal routines, my eyes, ears, mind, and heart can see, hear, think, feel, and experience God in new ways. This is one reason we feel so strongly about taking trips and retreats with our students at church—stepping out of everyday life opens us up to new things God wants to show us.
All of that is true. At the same time, there’s nothing quite like your own bed, your own car, your own house! Returning home is such a beautiful thing. My routines help me stay healthy and bring a sense of grounding for my soul. I am greeted by people so dear to me and welcomed in a way that only happens when you’re home. (I can navigate my neighborhood and traffic without getting lost!)
But sometimes where or what home is can be a little confusing. Still after 7.5 years living in Buffalo, people still ask me when I get to go “home” (to Kansas) next. And yet, while I’m away, those same people ask when I’m coming “home” to Buffalo. Both are “home” to me… and evidently others acknowledge that too. That place I lived the first 18+ years of my life will always feel a little like home, but returning to Buffalo does too.
Some say. “Home is where the heart is.”
Others: “Home is where the WiFi connects automatically.”
Whatever quote you may want to use, it does seem that home can actually be more than one place. Also, while I am thankful for my yellow house across from the creek with the maroon Suzuki sitting outside and my amazing bright kitchen and cozy bed, it seems that “home” is more a feeling than physical place.
Home is where we belong.
Home is safe.
Home is a sanctuary to return to, rest in, and be renewed.
Home is people and a place and a feeling and more.
And perhaps, as I recently wrote, returning home is more a state of my soul than anything.
This seems to make the most sense as I process the concept my true forever home will never be found while here on earth. The Author of the book of Hebrews says it this way:
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”
No, this home is not permanent. I will move out of this apartment some day, and any other house I occupy. I will also leave this earth one day and only then will I find my forever-home.
As I sit here today thankful to be “home” after a week away, along with gratitude for time at “home” in KS, it seems as if God is giving me a little glimpse into how amazing that final homecoming will be. Safety.
A sense of belonging.
Wholeness and well-being for my soul.
All of those things will be present.
And in the hard times where NOWHERE in this world feels like home, these words from Jesus to His disciples right before His death bring comfort, hope, and promise:
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am.”
The squeals of my nieces echoing off airport walls in Kansas are awesome. The hugs of friends greeting me here in NY are beyond great. Yet, oh how I long for the day I get to hear my Heavenly Father say: “Welcome home, my daughter! Welcome home!” Oh what a glorious homecoming that will be!