[Blogger's Note: This is the final installment of the Home Sweet Home series.]
Ten years swiftly passed by. That’s how long we’ve lived in our residence here in my homeland.
In this house we’ve experienced 10 years of joy and laughter, sorrow and pain, homecomings and leavings, family get-togethers and empty-nesting.
For all intents and purposes, this house is my home, yet I feel no bond to it like I felt to my childhood home. And this bothers me.
My husband and I have resided in this dwelling longer than any other home we’ve had together. Shouldn’t I feel settled in this place?
I do truly love my home, but if my husband announced today that his job required relocating, I would not be overwhelmingly sad to leave this particular abode. Is it because we’ve moved often or is there something deeper? This realization puzzles me and that is one reason why I’ve been wrestling with “home” lately.
I think I should feel a deeper connection to our home; it is, after all, the home to which my grown children come back. Hopefully, some day they will bring spouses and children “home” to visit us. Yet somehow, my heart remains attached to my parents’ home instead of this one.
When my father passed away last summer, my sisters and I made the decision to sell the family home. None of us could afford to keep it, none of our children needed it, and none of us wanted to be landlords to renters. So the only solution remaining was to place the property on the market. I didn’t realize how deeply I would be affected by selling the home to a stranger.
That’s what disturbs my dreams many nights. When I dream of “home,” it often is my childhood home. I dream that the new owners have changed every aspect of the house. I dream that I just walk into their house unannounced and declare for them to get out. On some days I grieve for my family home almost as much as I grieve for my parents. And in my rational and logical mind, I know this must stop.
“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams,” someone once wrote. I realize that the house I call home is just a house of walls and beams, and an old one at that. I know that “home” is what I carry in my heart, that place built with love and dreams. Somehow, I have to figure out how to separate the two, let go of the physical house, and embrace the memory of my childhood home.
I’m drawn back to the definition of home in Wikipedia which says, “Furthermore, places like homes can trigger self-reflection, thoughts about who one is or used to be or who one might become. These types of reflections also occur in places where there is a collective historical identity…”
I’m no psycho-analyst, but I can see that losing that place, my childhood home, which was such an anchor for me for much of my life, is what has affected me so profoundly. A sense of my identity is somehow linked to that house, and I feel that strong “collective historical identity” Wikipedia speaks of because of the familial ties to that house – all 128 years of them. My father was born in that house and he passed away there just as he wished. It also just recently occurred to me that both of my grandfathers also passed away in that home. My family history is tightly entwined with that dwelling, which is why it’s so difficult for me to relinquish it.
Reflections of the past serve many purposes. They show you where you’ve been and what you’ve done. But I also believe that once you can place your reflections where they belong – in the past – they help you have clear vision for the future. I know in my heart God has a lesson for me to learn through this experience.
Matthew 6:19-20 tells me my treasure is not here on earth but in heaven. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
The scripture reminds me of an old, old song my grandma and I used to sing while sitting together on her favorite rocking chair (the one with the swan-head arms that I so vividly remember):
“This world is not my home, I’m just passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
O Lord, you know I have no friend like you.
If Heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
They’re all expecting me and that’s one thing I know. My Savior pardoned me and now I onward go. I know He’ll take me through though I am weak and poor, and I can’t feel at home in this world any more.
Just up in glory land we’ll live eternally, the Saints on every hand are shouting victory. Their song of sweetest praise drifts back from Heaven’s shore, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
And so there is my answer – my real home is not here on this earth. As a believer in Jesus Christ, my real home – heaven – awaits me. And someday when I arrive there, I will feel at home. In the meantime, I must be content here in this place where He has planted me because He has some purpose for me here in this earthly home.
If you are a fellow believer in Jesus Christ, I’m hopeful that you too realize that your home here on earth is temporal, but while we are here, we must strive diligently to be about our Father’s business each and every day. Our time here is short.
If you don’t know Jesus, I pray you seek Him, learn about Him, and give your life to Him, so that you may serve Him. Your real home will be waiting for you in Glory.
[Blogger's Note: Thank you, dear readers, for bearing with me through this series. Over the last few weeks, pondering it, praying over it, writing, editing and re-writing it was a very emotional roller coaster ride for me. So I'm going to take a short break from writing, but I promise I'll be back. I have so much more to say!]