“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go” Sarah Dessen
I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit of a wanderer at heart. Cambridge is home, these days: it’s the city whose streets I know better than the back of my hand, and it holds some of the people who I love most in the world. It’s the place in which I am championed and I know that I am known here, and it’s my hiding place when I need a moment of anonymity to catch my breath.
But I also know what it is like for everything that I hold in life to feel quite temporary; to know that things shift and move on constantly, and that if I rely on a physical space for security, I could easily crumble. I know what it is to not quite have found your place, for things to be quite transient, to have seen things change and to have been disappointed with circumstances haven’t quite worked out the way I thought they would, and to feel that tight feeling of disappointment in my chest again.
I know what it is for us to look at the lives of the people around us and feel like they have everything sorted, while we don’t. We see people who seem to have it so easy, while the ground crumbles under our feet for the thousandth time.
If you’re anything like me, life is transient: things shift all the time, people change, we get disappointed and we have to adjust the way that we think things are going to work out. Life with God, for me, has been a decision to not miss anything of the way that things “could have been” if I had made decisions differently, or to look with envy at the lives of people who seem to have it all. I surrendered the right to have it all, or to build a successful life for myself when I said yes to new life in Jesus.
And I’m starting to realize that I will always have this intrinsic sense of “homelessness” – not because I lack a sense of belonging, but because I was not made for this world. John Mark Conklin, in his blog, writes this: “The tears that fill my eyes when I drive through Atlanta. The rush of dopamine I get when I fly into a new city for the very first time. The nostalgia in the pit of my stomach for people and places that have long since past. They’re fleeting. They don’t satiate the thirst that lies deep within my vagrant heart. We weren’t made for this world; in fact, we weren’t even made for the next. What we were made for is unhindered intimacy with an Almighty God”.
So what does this mean for us, living with God in the here and now? My heart is tied to His, and I won’t be properly home until I go to be with Him for eternity. But the beautiful truth is that in His grace, we are not called to simply be good and wait for heaven — we are promised a full and abundant life, from the moment that we fall in love with Jesus.
We can be fully present in the place that He has put us in, and the community that He has wrapped around us, knowing that we belong while holding all things lightly.
We can be present in this place – praying for the town, city, village that we are in, loving its’ people, doing what we are called to do in the time that we are here. Our presence here shines His light into the darkness; we are not insignificant, and none of this is a mistake – there is purpose in the place that we have been put in. And who knows, but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
We can be present with our people – the relationships that we build here are important and significant, and this truth is sewn all the way through the Word. We are to live in peace; to build one another up. We are to care for the widow and the orphan, we are to be a demonstration of the love of God and point people towards Him. Those relationships matter.
And so no, we are not made for this world, and we won’t really know what home is until we are finally called home, to be with our Father.
But we can be present, and we can know that we belong, and that we have a place here. We can know that our being here is not without purpose or intention, but that we were designed and placed.
We can find moments and people that we build on top of each other like bricks, creating a solid shelter that we take with us, wherever we may go in this life.
What does home look like for you
“Perhaps home is not a place, but simply an irrevocable condition” – James Baldwin.