What is home to you? Do you think of it as a place with two loving parents and some children residing in a shared space? Is it your partner and your dog? You and your fish? A community that fills your heart? When you think of the word home, what images come to mind?
I was in Montreal recently, visiting family and home is connected to the land for me, the land through my ancestors. Some days, I have a very clear picture of home being something much greater than myself. A slice of generations carving out the land in this great country as my ancestors did is embedded in me. I have a deep love of both my country and the prairie land in which I grew up. I cannot always explain it but even in Quebec where all four of my grandparents are from I feel a kinship to a Spirit that still whispers my name. I am so grateful for this.
Home is a funny concept. As I entered my uncle’s house, he gave me a big hug and kiss, evaporating the time that had passed into seconds instead of years. He reminds me of my father both in looks and being. When he is with his siblings, there is something beautiful that transpires. I think it is that home is present even though not all of them would have lived in the same house for a number of years. They seem to know who they are and where they come from when they are together. I simply adore this. I always have. I perhaps have always felt a little jealous of it on some level. Whatever it is, when I encounter it, I want to embrace it and welcome it into my heart.
Tonight I spoke with someone who responded to the question, how are you? with I am alive. I bantered back: That’s a good thing. His response was something like Not necessarily. Aren’t we all supposed to be headed Elsewhere? Yes, we are. He did not know my situation and I did not tell him until I sent him an email after I got home. We should be setting our eyes on the bigger definition of Home, the one even broader than what I have just tried to articulate about this earthly realm. We are all headed Home. Most of us do not know when. Some of us, occasionally considered lucky, have an idea about sooner than later. The recent shootings in Florida are just another example that we are never sure of the length of our days. A friend of mine lies in the hospital tonight after surgery and another in a medically-induced coma. All these lives and those who love these people hang in the great balance of grief, sorrow, and hope. In the blink of an eye, people are adjusting to a new reality. Some will heal and move on, grateful for the opportunity to take a good hard look at what life means. Others will pick up shattered pieces. I watched a survivor of the Florida shootings talk about being shot three times, knowing full well that the shooter had intended to kill him and the others around him. How must he process this?
Home, our Heavenly Home, awaits us. We do not know when we will walk through that Gate, but it is wise to spend some time pondering what that Home means to us.
What is home to you in the earthly sense?
How ready are you for Home?
Precious Lord, lead me Home when the time comes. For now, let me rejoice in my home here and relish all the relationships that come with this gift. Amen.