As the boxes pile up, and Ben comes home speckled with paint, the truth becomes a little more clear all the time: Home is neither here nor there.
We are disassembling five years of life year at camp, and getting ready to move on to that new house in Niverville. But when I met Ben there the other day, it all felt so strange. That was not home.
And then we drove two hours back to camp, and this didn’t feel so much like home anymore, either.
I’m feeling myself really wanting a home right now. I’m longing for a permanent kind of feeling, a nesting kind of feeling that makes me desire a cozy place to settle in and keep my family safe and peaceful. And it’s not going to happen for a few weeks yet, because the chaos is only beginning here at camp.
I feel unsettled, and it’s making me realize something about myself: The more I long for a place to feel like home, the more I am aware of how temporary any home is. I think we spend our time on Earth trying to fill that longing with all kinds of homes, and yet really, my true and final resting place of peace and safety is Heaven.
I don’t spend enough time thinking about that.
What would happen to me if I had no home? This time of transition and the feelings of being a little misplaced will last a short time, but would it be good for me if it stayed around longer? If I had no house in Niverville waiting for me to transfer my home-loving self to, would I be more open to longing for the things of Jesus, instead of trying to fill it with temporary, materialistic things?
I have never seen “transition” as a particularly desirable time in life. It is uncomfortable, unsettling, and change is brewing. It has it’s exciting parts, but I wouldn’t want to stay in it long-term.
But I’m wondering if “in the world but not of it” should be exactly that – a constant feeling of transition. Never really settling in, because none of this is the point anyway.
I’ve been trying not to wish away transition. I’ve been trying to learn from it, and use it to experience all the necessary emotions we are needing to process.
Maybe I need to see it as more than that. Maybe times of transition are a gift – a time when we can see this life with a little more clarity.
I love home. I see it as my very important job to teach our girls about family and home and traditions, and all that good stuff. I will continue to put effort into making home a happy, comfortable place.
But maybe we also need to be finding more ways to teach our girls about not having a home, and what it means to be here only for a time. To use this time and these gifts well, but not become too attached, because really, this life is just one big transition, and longing for home should really be about something much more eternal.
I remember reading what Franklin Graham wrote about his mother’s longing for Heaven. One day when the family was playing outside, he was thinking about some things he’d heard in church. He asked his mom, “Do you know when Jesus will come back?” And she said, “I don’t know, but I hope it’s today!”
I want to long for Jesus like that! I want to long for my Heavenly home like that. “I hope it’s today!”
And in the meantime, we’ll enjoy the gifts and blessings of right now.