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This house.

I didn’t have one for so long.

I lived with my grandparents for my first eight years in their house, a two-bedroom, 1920s stucco that I still dream about to this day—my first memory of “home.” Then came a succession of progressively smaller and seedier apartments, other people’s spare bedrooms, a motel room, and several trailers, until age 17, when I called a dorm room and then six or seven other places “home…” before life became firm and certain and I could trust that the ground under my feet was no longer shifting but stable and sure.

And then Rick and I filled this home with other people of our own making. That in itself is still kind of astonishing to me.

Yesterday those same people gave me a gift that flooded me with emotion and I had to cover it up and collect myself before I could study it in every detail: the front door, the porch, the bird feeders, the flowers, the swing set in the back yard, the military flags … the memories and the people and most of all, the love that has been poured out and given freely and surrounded each of us for 23 years inside these familiar walls.

Home.

Yesterday at church, on Christmas day, we sang “How Great Thou Art,” and I had to blink back tears:

“When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation

And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart…”

But Lord, you’ve already filled my heart with joy. Through this home and these people that you’ve placed here with me. Never in a million years could I have seen this coming in my life.

I often wish I could go back in time and give my child-self a glimpse of her future. The stability, the people, the love, the sureness of it. The goodness of God through it all. This painting of “home” is a treasure to me for all of these reasons and more.

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