Home is where the heart is, so the saying goes.
Home is so much more than that and often leaves me at a loss for words. This week we left the home where we were raised, where our extended family lives and returned to our now home, where our kids have grown up, where one of them was born, where our life and ministry are.
And in between those two places, we find bits of home.
Like with our friends Josh and Rachel and their three girls. Their home is our waystation on our trips from south-central Pennsylvania to Illinois and back. Our kids play together. Our talks last long into the night. And every time we leave, we wish we didn’t have to.
And in Toledo, Ohio, which is a sort of halfway point. When we took the kids there two weeks ago to meet my parents, we stopped at this park. On our way back from Illinois this week, we stopped there again. For lunch. And a hike. To a swinging bridge.
Even though we’d only been there once before, it felt familiar. Like we weren’t exactly nomads or strangers.
Because that’s exactly how I feel right now. Like people without a home. Wanderers. Lost in the wilderness.
But still we get glimpses of “home.”
Like with our friends Paul and Dawn and their girls, who three years ago were unknown to us but now are our closest friends in the area. The kids and I went to their daughter’s birthday party last night and Phil met us there after work. As our kids played together after the party wound down, Dawn and I talked in the kitchen and the men-folk sat outside talking through life. There was something comforting about the whole thing. We’ve journeyed together and are now in the same “what in the world do You have for us God?” boat. And even when it seems like the boat might be sinking, it’s nice to be in it with other people.
And when a friend and mentor at church gifts us with a Book of Common Prayer. Words can’t fully describe how this touches me. I am drawn to the ancient practices of Christianity and knowing that someone recognized this and thought to provide a means to discover those practices more fully is soul-strengthening.
And moments like this.
Watching the fireworks in our hometown with the people we love. This was one of my favorite things about the Fourth of July festival growing up. I’ve been reluctant to take the kids out to a fireworks display because of the late hour and the crowds and such.
But grandparents make these sorts of things much more manageable.
My heart always breaks a little when we leave because I know we miss these sorts of opportunities more than other families. Maybe that just makes them more special.
And this one I throw in just for fun. In the midst of stressful circumstances and not knowing where to go next or when, these kids are a gift. They say hilarious things and do hilarious things and give us moments of unparalleled joy (between moments of unparalleled frustration).
These are my reasons to smile this week.
“Home is …”
How do you fill in the blank?