Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home

I got to spend some time with a lifelong friend of mine the other day. We were in kindergarten together...graduated high school together...and then went our separate ways to college and beyond. But we've always managed to stay in touch and have always said that no matter how much time passes between our meetings, we can always pick back up right where we left off! Both of our sets of parents are planning to move in the near future. It got us talking about how the family changes through time. Our grandparents used to be the "centers" of our families, and now we see that role being taken on by our parents now that THEY are the grandparents. We talked about how Plymouth, Indiana, the town we spent our entire childhood no longer seems like "home."

And yet...It still does feel like home in some ways. I went to Plymouth last weekend...probably the last time I will spend with my family in the house I grew up in.

We moved in when I was 6. My biggest memory of moving was that I was very afraid that I would get lost walking to school from my new house. The old one was directly across from the playground. This house was two blocks away and I couldn't see the school from my house! But somehow I found my way. Whew! :)

Close to half of my life happened in that house. Lots of games of baseball and soccer in the backyard. Lots of plays performed on the screen porch. Lots of pioneer families took residence under the TV antennae. Lots of books read. Lots of chores done. Lots of piano lessons half practiced. Disney Afternoons were watched. Dates came to pick me up. I crashed the van in the garage. Graduation parties. Staying up too late on the computer during my college summers. You know...I could go on. It was life and a pretty fantastic place to grow up. To say I'm thankful for my parents and my childhood and the house that went with it doesn't quite run deep enough to express my true gratitude.

I went out to run on Memorial Day morning and ran to the cemetery near my parents' home. Fitting on Memorial Day, I thought, as I watched an older gentleman in a pointed military hat set up a platform for a ceremony to be held later in the day... And I concluded it seemed to be a day of memorial for me as well beyond those who fought for freedom. Mom took us on walks at that cemetery as children and we would love looking at the dates and names of the people and try to imagine what their lives were like. (Yeah, we'll just pretend that's a normal thing to do...but to this day I like cemeteries.)

Anyway...there was a certain spot in a certain corner where the little road curved to meet an old farm fence. Inside the fence was a field of flowers, and outside the fence was shaded by a row of giant evergreen trees that had branches that reached toward the sky in giant U's. I always imagined that the trees were reaching their arms to heaven, praising God in quiet reverence of those who had passed away and whose bodies lay beneath their roots, but whose spirits were with Him. It was peaceful and quiet and the grass was extra soft and dark and long...like grass tends to get in extra old and shady spots. Being a slightly morbid child, I always thought that it would be wonderful to be buried there where the trees praised God. On my Memorial Day run, that was the exact place I wanted to go by myself and remember. Except...the trees were gone. At first I thought it had been so long that I had just forgotten where my special spot was. But the fence was there. The field was there. And the trees were not. For some reason, this was the one thing that made me really angry and sad in all the goodbyes. "They" just had to go and take my trees from me, too!? Not fair! But I also kind of felt like God was was using this to say..."Time moves on, Beth! It's okay to be sad, but I have a different place for you now. I have a different place for your parents now, too. And it's a good thing. Your home is not found in houses or church buildings or even in spots where the trees praise God. Your home is in ME."

So my parents will move. My church is getting ready to move (Although that's more exciting, but it also comes with some serious work and changes!). And although in general I'm pretty horrible about moving...I'm starting to "get" that the places that we call home aren't our true home at all. Paul says it well in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. I cannot and will not ever be completely comfortable here on earth; I need to long for my true home in Heaven.

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


Shawn McDonald says it well, too.

Home

I've seen enough to say that I know
That this old world is not my home
From lustful eyes and tainted lies, pride to hide the way that I
The way that I feel inside

I am ready to go home
I'm packing my bags and I'm hitting the road
I am ready to go home
I'm packing my bags and I'm hitting the road

I'm packing my bags and I'm hitting the road
Yes, I'm gonna run, I'm gonna run for my home
To stand in the sight of the Living God
That's where I'm longing to be

(Why stick to the lyrics on the original recording? Here's some extra lyrics he adds in the bridge of this version that I like:
I am going to head for my home
My home is not found here oh no no no
But up with the Lord, oh yeah)

4 comments:

katdish said...

Sort of bittersweet, huh? But the memories are there, in your heart. I guess it's sentimental day, huh?

I love Chris Daughtry's song Home.

Tyler said...

Hey, thanks for the comment on my post yesterday at SCL. It's great having new readers add to the conversation.

Know that my blog is a safe place to air any of those petty grievances you may have about life's more trivial matters. That's what we do best over there. Keep them coming!

Jen said...

I love your reflections, Beth.

Billy Coffey said...

That was so good, Beth. It's so tough having to lose home. My parents still live in the same house I was raised in, but I know the day is coming when someone else will call it home and I won't be able to go back.

Thankfully, there's another home waiting on us all. And that one won't ever go away.