This weekend, I am faced with a task I had not fully considered until it became an unavoidable rendezvous with destiny - the removal and storage of my parents household goods and the closing of the last place my parents together called home. With this action, many memories and reminders will be tucked away for some time and the brick and mortar that housed the last living memories of my mother will be out of reach for the rest of my life.
As an Army Brat, having a place to call home is more precious than gold. Home is a refuge - a retreat - a rallying point that stands as a personal fortress in the midst of a lifestyle that doesn't really allow geographic stability and security. Home is where my folks are...but what happens when the folks are no longer home? I hadn't really contemplated this fully until this weekend. As an only child, I won't have the memories of my siblings to share as a source of encouragement and strengthening. My father suffers from dementia and what he does remember is random and unpredictable. There will be few chats around the hearth to celebrate the way we were. Regarding family and home I find myself thinking, "What now?"
As I reflect on the identity of my home, an old cadence comes to mind that really resonated with the deepest longings of my soul during the days I was compelled to sing it. It may have been meant as dark humor, but every note of it touched my heart and in reality, I sang it with gusto: "Airborne, Airborne, All the way! Airborne, Airborne, all the way! We like it here! We love it here! We've finally found a home! We like it here! We love it here! We've finally found a home! A home! A home! A home way from home! A home! A HOME! A HOME AWAY FROM HOME...HEY!" Yes, the Army has always been my soul's home, yet I answered a call that carried me far from my home and all for which I had prepared myself from childhood to my early adult life. I have now spent most of my life as a wayfaring sojourner who is driven by a conviction to spread Good News to anyone that will listen and to help as many with my gifts, talents and abilities as I can. A great calling to a meaningful existence, but home's not included!
Am I regretful of choosing a path foreign to my upbringing that on occasion causes me to contemplate the ambiguity of what home really means? Not at all. In serving God, I have truly found a "Home away from Home" and I am bound for a Better Home than I have ever known. In Mark 10:29-30, Jesus spells out the blessings of leaving behind one's earthbound home : "“Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life." I have experienced this verse first hand as my path has crossed with others who have themselves left the familiar and comfortable to walk with God in the way of Faith. I have truly gained brothers, sisters and family as I encountered people whose love for God transcended their place of orgin, language,culture and nationality because of their primary identity as a child of God.
As I continue along my walk of faith, I find myself understanding the finite nature of life more clearly and longing for my celestial home that will never perish. Hebrews 11 says that Abraham waited for a city "whose builder and maker is God." We are to likewise wait for that city as we display character consistent with our citizenship in it. Our goals, aims, hopes and dreams should now be recalibrated to reflect our sanctified hope that as we suffer and hurt in our service, Jesus is preparing better things for us - if it were not so, He would have told us!
As I prepare for the challenging task of dismantling the memories of my home, I must sanctify my thinking. I must take joy in remembering the wonderful home and community in which I was raised and that better things are ahead. I must remember that a great multitude, including my mom, have walked in faith before me, showing me where my true citizenship lies and it is a privilege to follow in their footsteps. I must choose to focus on the high and esteemed call I have as a citizen of my Home in Glory, not wade in the swamps of regret and disappointment. I must remember that I have not been left as an orphan, but rather been blessed with many brothers and sisters around the world to encourage, inspire and motivate me to continue to fight the good fight.
It may be true that my geographic reference points of home are fading away, yet the beacon of my true home and my extended family shine brighter every day. For that reason I can say with sincerity, "I like it here. I love it here! I've finally found a home...because I realize that home is not confined to a zip code, nor family to blood relations, but it is found with the Lord and with all those he has placed in my life who walk with me here, there and everywhere! Truly, there's nobody like family and there's no place like home! Many thanks to all of you who make this vision of home a daily reality in my life! Until next time...
|My Fondest Memory of Home|