“So where are y’all from?”asked the cute teenager standing behind the counter at the Homebaked Ham in Jackon, TN. It was a simple enough question and yet K and I stood there looking at each other as if we were new members of the Witness Protection Program who were desperately afraid we were getting ready to blow our cover.
“We’re kind of between ‘froms’ right now,” I said, almost sheepishly. I wondered how she knew we weren’t from there. Have we been homeless so long that we don’t look like we belong anywhere anymore?
A similar situation happened while we were visiting K’s mom in Kentucky. After church, I told the little Snoodles that as soon as we got home everyone needed to to change into some play clothes.
Princess Diva looked confused. “Home? Which home?”
When it came time to fill out forms to have our mail delivery stopped in Massachusetts, I realized that we didn’t have a forwarding address. The post office frowns on using your minivan’s license plate as your new address.We used my parent’s address instead. Their house will be our “home” for a few more days.
“I know you’ll be so glad to get back home!” That’s what so many people have told us for the past few weeks. In a very true sense of the word, this is a homecoming of sorts. My mom and dad and brother are here. I’ve spent more of my life here than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. So I’m from Louisiana, right? Well, South Carolina was my home for the first fifteen years of my life. I’ve made my home in other states along the way and each place made its own special home in my heart.
Next week the Snoodles will have another new address. I’ve never been able to pinpoint the exact moment that a house becomes our home. Next week all of our familiar stuff will be unpacked into an unfamiliar space. Somewhere along the way, the two will merge to become our home. Every time we move I tell myself that I’m going to watch very carefully to see just when that marriage happens.
Is it after the first night in our new bedrooms?
Is it after the first spill?
Is it once the pictures are hung on the walls? That can’t be it because I rarely get all the stuff hung before it’s take to take everything down and pack it away for the next move.
Does it happen the first time we have company to visit?
Do holidays make a place feel more like home?
We hadn’t lived in Massachusetts for a long time when we took a trip to D.C. for a couple of weeks. When our trip was finished, I realized on the drive back to Waltham that I was looking forward to being home. Maybe you have to leave a place for a time to realize where your home is.
Maybe we carry home with us in our hearts. Maybe it’s partly place and mostly people. I know that I’ve said that my home is wherever my family is, but I also know that there have been times when I’ve been surrounded by the people I love most in the world and still felt…..dare I say it?….homesick.
I think God wired us to carry a little bit of that homesick feeling tucked deep into our hearts. Sometimes it’s closer to the surface and other times we barely know it’s there, but I don’t think He ever meant for us to ever truly be completely at home here on this earth.
I’ve been thinking about the last chapter of The Last Battle, the final book in The Chronicles of Narnia series. The children realize that the wonderful Narnia that they love so much is only a foretaste of the true Narnia that Aslan has prepared for them. I, too, am realizing that this world is not my home. I am learning to be, as the lesser-known last part of the Serenity Prayer says, “reasonably happy in this life,” knowing I will be “supremely happy with Him forever in the next.”
Until we get to the final Narnia, I’ll endeavor to make each place we live as much like home as I possibly can. How about you? What makes where you are “home” for you? If you’ve ever moved, when did you new place become “home”? Do you do anything special to make your house a home?