I've been thinking about that word a lot lately. "Home." It's a word that's packed with meaning and emotion. As a child it was a ranch style house built by my father on an acre of ground given to mom and dad by my mother's dad. My grandpa Turner. It was on the south side of a dead end, dirt road in Wichita, Kansas. The north side of the road was a wheat field. When cars drove by on hot summer days the dust would seem to hang in the air forever. On cold winter nights the old Humphrey stove would put out enough heat to keep the house toasty. It was home. Mom and dad made sure that it felt safe. My little brother, Terry and I shared a bedroom. He was seven years younger than me but we still became great friends sharing that room. It was home.
I lived there until Jane and I were married. Our first "home" was a 28 foot trailer house. Eight feet wide. Small, yes, but we were young and it didn't matter. That first Christmas we purchased an artificial tree from Sears and decorated our home for the season. It was home.
Since that inauspicious beginning we've lived in 17 different places (counting our current apartment in Shoreline, Washington) but they've all been "home." Jane always made it so.
These past two weeks we've been on the road and in the air more than we would have liked. Jane's mom died back in Wichita at age 96. We flew "home" to help care for her funeral. We stayed in a nice hotel and somehow as we drove the familiar streets from our childhood we were "home." We haven't lived in Wichita since 1971 but it was home.
After the funeral we flew back into the Seattle airport and were back in our apartment for the weekend in order to preach at the Aurora church. After that morning worship service on the 7th we again caught a plane and flew "home." But this time it was taking us to Colorado. Jamie picked us up and we spent that Sunday night at her house and then on Monday we drove "home" to our cabin in the mountains. We hadn't been there since the Thursday before Labor Day. We unlocked the door and walked in greeted by all our "stuff" and we were home.
We love that little cabin on the creek. it's a peaceful place for us. It has been for the 6 years that we've owned it. During some turbulent years in our last assignment we would escape to the cabin and try to recover. It welcomed us with open arms. Gratefully, everything was as we left it. We put clean linens on the bed and Jane started vacuuming. I went to the garage to check on my treasures. The old gas pump was still there in front of the garage and the things that I treasure, though of little value, were all still in place. My office was a bit cold and dusty, but it was home. We were home.
After a week of errands, doctors appointments, dentist appointments and even a short case of the flu following my first ever flu shot, we boarded a plane to fly back to Seattle once again. Staci picked us up on this end and drove us to our apartment. She was so thoughtful. She had a big pot of stew in the back of the SUV for our dinner. We arrived at the apartment and unlocked the door. In a matter of moments she had the stew on the stove and our little place was filled with the delightful aroma. We were "home."
Yesterday as I preached at the Aurora church I discovered that the gracious people made us feel "at home." I know that the old philosopher said that "Home is where the heart is" but I guess I've never been so pulled between places in such a short time. I discovered that it's true. Home IS where the heart is.
Maya Angelou said it this way. "I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."
I'm discovering that she's right, and that I am.