My neighbor’s wife died a couple months ago. It was sudden and quick. His son came home to stay with him for a little while, but now he has returned to his own house. They have a second home in New Hampshire that was in the family, so my neighbor goes back and forth. He came back today and I said, Welcome home!” He replied that he didn’t know where home was for him anymore.
For my neighbor, home is where his wife is…not with him. He has to find a new way to live now, a new feeling of home. It takes a long time. Some may never find it again,
My husband and I have college friends that we just learned are getting a divorce. They were such a fun couple, but things change. They now live in their own apartments and are figuring out visitation with their two daughters. They sold their home. Now they are searching for how to create home again for themselves and their children. It is a struggle.
What is home? Is it always a physical place? Home is where we feel safe, comfortable, loved. It is a warm blanket and a cup of coffee. It is where you can have bedhead and walk around in your PJs. Home is knowing you are exactly where you are supposed to be, even if there are dust bunnies and piles of dishes in the sink. Home is a constant To-Do list, where there always seems to be something needing fixing. It can be a place of arguments, tears, falls and slammed doors. Home can be heartache and loneliness. Home seems to be able to stand through all of that. Home is where there is never a time something isn’t going wrong, or at least not going according to plan…and yet, there is a gentle peace. There is a quote from Walter de la Mare:
“Marvelous happy it was to be
Alone, and yet not solitary.
O out of terror and dark, to come
In sight of home.”
They say home is where the heart is. Since God is love, I wonder if home is where God is? It is seeing God’s love within the dirty fingerprints, faded photographs and piles of laundry. Or maybe it is the other way around – God is where home is. We invite God in to all that makes our home what it is. God is within the people we have over for dinner and the laughter over an old family joke. Either way, it is an awareness that God is present in all that is good, and loving, and sustaining. That awareness can feel like home, no matter where we are. It is that pure grace flowing in and out of the mess.
Steven Chase in The Tree of Life says, “While it is true that home has many deep connotations for all of us, it is not so much a static, idealized beginning or ending location as it is a dynamic holding environment in which we are secure, safe, and free to grow, change, and evolve into the person God longs for us to be,” (p. 140). I don’t even know if my neighbor or our college friends have a belief in God, but God still works God’s mysteries whether there is belief or not. Our loving God is able to be in all homes. Even if our loved ones are gone, their memories remain home for us. If our family is divided, home is something that can be sought after and rebuilt. Whether you are a family of 1 or 10, dysfunctional or picture-perfect (does that exist?), God wants to be within the home you create. Home is where love resides.