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Longing for a Place Called Home

Longing for a Place Called Home

The ache for home lives in all of us. ~ Maya Angelou

Recently I walked my feet into nubbins as I hiked around town on a home tour. Up and down streets, up and down hallways, and up and down stairwells. It was a wonderfully exhausting stint. I love looking at homes: old homes, new homes, rambling homes, and cottages. Especially cottages with gardens. And I love historical homes, something significantly older than me that’s still standing. (It comforts me.) When I tour, I like to see different architectural designs and individuals’ decorating sensibilities and discover creative innovations I might take home and apply.

My home interest has probably grown out of my mom’s addiction. My mother was a house addict, and now I’m chugging her “drug” of choice. And when I say drug, I mean it because, throughout my childhood, I was drug from one home to another with my family’s frequent moves.

As a kid, I was more than a reluctant mover, I left skid marks between homes from dragging my attitude. I actually liked every residence we lived in, but never at first. I hated bare walls, windows, and floors. And while I didn’t have trouble making new friends, I was always sad leaving old playmates. Yet before long, I’d meet children who would become my pals, and Mom would soon coax every room into a warm environment full of simple beauties and inviting corners. I remember her standing for hours ironing curtains, doilies, and tablecloths, and then she’d go into action and work her magic. What had looked barren to my young eyes became lush with her loving touches. She knew how to take a little bit and fluff it into a wholesome surrounding.

I was surprised when I married my husband, Les, that he, like my mom, liked to change residences… frequently.

We’ve been married forty-eight years, so I’ve packed a lot of boxes and faced many shadeless windows and naked floors. We have lived in apartments, farm houses, mobile homes, bungalows, cottages, and currently a newer home.

So I guess it’s a good thing my mom prepared me for disruption via change. The two of them, Les and Mom, have helped to keep me from my tendency of holding on too tight. Sorta.

Somewhere during the hopscotching of homes, I caught the house bug, and I’ve been hoofing tours, watching HGTV, and overdosing on home magazines ever since. At least once a month, my hubby suggests we buy a motor home and take our abode everywhere we go. My answer is consistent because my soul needs the anchor of a single location: I don’t want my only home to be on wheels, although I know there are those who love it. I think I’ve moved too often for that much of a vagabond lifestyle.

I’ve wondered about Old Testament Sarah. How did she adjust to her nomadic moves? She didn’t wheel-it, but she did walk-it… and she tented-it. Tent? Eek! Honestly, dealing with the desert dust puts my allergies on high alert. Not to mention if hubby would be always tracking in camel droppings. Think about it… that’s no small matter.

Poor Sarah had to walk up and down deserts, up and down mountains, through oases – just to get to the grocery store for milk and honey. Hers was not a delivery service neighborhood.

Yes, I have to believe pulling up stakes (literally) for Sarah was no Grand Canyon spree. And I bet that, years later, Sarah would have made an empathetic mentor for Old Testament Ruth had she crossed her grief-stricken path. You see, after tragedy struck Ruth’s home, she chose to uproot herself from the safety of all she’d ever known to go to a place she’d never been, so, like Sarah, she was on a new house hunt. Only Ruth was a widow who had just left the fresh graveside of her husband, and she would travel with her bitter mother-in-law to a place where Ruth most likely would be met with judgment and prejudicial treatment. I’m pretty sure Ruth would tell us it’s not always easy moving into a new neighborhood and finding your place among reluctant strangers whose ways are unknown to you. It’s as though you waltz in and they are all doing the jitterbug. It takes time to learn new rhythms.

As a speaker and writer, I find myself weekly setting up my “tent” among strangers in hotels across the nation.

Each hotel is different in some respects and, unfortunately, similar in others. After hotel hopping for some twenty-five-plus years, I can reiterate the time-worn truth with passion, “There’s no place like home.” I love being on tour, but I must say, when I drive into my neighborhood and spot my abode, tension begins to drain out of my body.

My hubby and I had occasion at one juncture of our lives to “live” in a hotel for almost four months. Yes, months. May I just say that’s too long… even if they do make your bed and leave you a bar of soap. I can’t imagine how long Sarah had to stay in the swirling desert, changing tents sometimes daily. Or how long Ruth carried the broken heart of her mother-in-law down a long, dusty road before she arrived in the fields of Boaz. But I guarantee you that as they trudged ahead, their hearts longed for home… where they were known, loved, and where they knew which way to turn to get to Target.

Oh, did I mention we’re moving again? This one is a biggie because it will take us out of our home state of Michigan, which is where we’ve tended to roam for more than sixty years, to the state of Tennessee, y’all. We’ve chosen a historical “tent” this time, which should be hysterical, as well as redundant. It’s a lovely home in a place we feel received and even celebrated. How inviting.

Sometimes I wonder if my interest in houses is really spurred on not by my mom’s hobby, but by a longing for “home.” That state where the heart never stops rejoicing and where one settles into an eternal abode. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us eternity has been set in our hearts.

And in Hebrews 13:14, we read, “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come”.

Excerpted with permission from Time to Rejoice by Women of Faith, copyright Thomas Nelson, 2011.

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Your Turn

Are you someone who loves travel? Or even one who loves to move? As someone who moved 12 times in 21 years, I personally loathe moving. I’d rather have dental surgery than pack my stuff in boxes and move. Do you long for home? Come share your story on our blog! We would love to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, FaithGateway Women