“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven…”
2 Corinthians 5:1, 2 (KJV)
On the first night of a recent trip that involved us spending several days and nights away from home, Zachary and I engaged in a conversation. It went something like this:
“Mama, it’s hard for me to think we’ll be here for so long”, he said as he stood putting his toys away for the night.
I said, “Zach, what do you mean? Are you homesick?”
He nodded a sad, “Yes”.
I said, “Yeah, it kind of hits you at night more, doesn’t it? When it’s time for us to start winding down, our thoughts turn more towards home, huh?”
“Yeah, Mama, they sure do.”
There’s just something about home…its sense of familiarity, relaxed comfort, and peace….there really is no substitute. No matter where we wander or how welcome we feel in our surroundings, the welcoming arms of home reach for us, no matter how far they have to stretch. Home’s heartstrings resonate a powerful, voluminous tug back to where we truly belong.
Not that we don’t want, yes, even need, to get away sometimes. Don’t we all? Everyone needs a change of pace now and then, for the sake of maintaining sanity and balance.
But even during the pause, home beckons.
What is this element that makes a structure built of wood, brick, and stone a home? As I listened to Zachary and felt and shared his melancholy, it occurred to me that “home” really can’t be put into words. It is more a heart matter that is understood and felt, but incapable of being spoken.
To me, home is life….the base and foundation of our daily routine…the sanctuary of our lives, and the haven we run to for a safe, soft place to fall. Home is where the most precious memories are made. It is the sense of security knowing that even in this crazy, chaotic world, there is a refuge that promises, yes guarantees, stability and an unchanging reliable serenity that can only be found within its encircling support. It is unlike any other place in the world.
Home is a place where I am loved…undeniably, unconditionally, and unendingly.
Home is where I most long to be. When I am away, it lives in my heart and steadily, impulsively pulls me back…to the consolation of its comfort.
It kind of reminds me of the way thoughts of Heaven make us realize we are really not of this world. In the depths of each person, there is an immortal soul that is made for a world other than this. I once saw this saying:
“We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience;
we are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.”
That eternal part of us longs to be in its rightful, resting place and realizes it is just passing through this life. When my Dad died, I wanted something special to be printed on the back of the cards we handed out at his funeral. This is what I chose:
Think of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven,
Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s,
Of breathing new air and finding it's celestial air,
Of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality,
Of passing from storm and stress to a perfect calm,
Of waking and finding it Home!”
Such beautifully poignant words!
My sister, Debbie, was visiting Mom and Dad a short time before Dad died. He was telling her how bad he felt, physically, and he said, “Debbie, I just wanna go home.” She replied, “Dad, don’t talk like that.” She went on to remind him that Kevin and I were expecting a baby, and that he had that to look forward to. He was careful in his reply, “I know, Debbie. I am so happy for Kevin and Cheryl. But, I just can’t go on like this.”
The draw of this world, no matter how close to his heart, just wasn’t enough to make him want to stay. He was longing for home…his eternal home, and the pull from there was stronger than anything this side could offer. He died a few weeks later. As we stood around his deathbed and Kevin held his hand, I wished we could see his face when he saw Jesus on the other side…welcoming him home!
Here’s a link to the beautiful song “Far Side Banks of Jordan” written by Terry Smith and sung by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash that reminds me of Mom and Dad each time I hear it:
So, who is waiting for you? Are there loved ones waiting at “home”? It will be worth whatever you have to go through to get there to be with them again. Knowing Dad and other loved ones are there…waiting on the banks for me…makes thoughts of home even sweeter.
Home here on earth gently pulls to me with a tender, sweet attraction that no other place can reproduce. But, no matter how precious it is, the nagging understanding that it is only temporary is continually with me. What comfort to know that our eternal home will be forever….never-ending, and as today’s Scripture says, it is “eternal in the heavens”. My friend, I hope to live with you there someday!