Home is Where the Heart is
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you." ~ Genesis 12:1
A couple of weeks ago, like many others, I had the chance to get out of the summer heat and head back to my parents house in Indiana. My parents have lived in their house for 31 years. They both grew up in neighboring towns to the one I grew up in. While I was home this last time, I found out that my mom’s dad actually graduated from the same high school I did. My parents both went away to college; my dad to Tennessee and Mexico City, while my mom went to Indiana State. But they both ended up back where they started, on the west side of Indianapolis in a town named Avon.
I moved to Avon when I was just five years old, moving from the town directly west of it. I lived in that house with my parents from the time I was five until the time I received my undergrad degree in 2000. Still, my parents’ home has always been home. Avon is the place that we can find the best pizza - well, it really isn’t that good, but trains bring your drinks to the table. It is the place that has the best fishing, the place to find old friends and good memories. It has always been a place for me to go to relax and get away, a place that allows for a break in my normal life.
Since 2000, God has called me to go to lots of different places, Pittsburgh, Israel, Senegal, Africa, Haiti (twice), California and now Scottsdale. Despite all the places I have lived, if you ever asked me, “Are you going home for (fill in the holiday or event)?” my mind would instantly think of Indiana, not my actual home. Yet all of that is about to change.
See, this last trip home, to Indiana, was a packing and sorting trip. My parents, like their son before them, are preparing to leave the place they have called home for 31 years to move to Arizona. Come the first part of August, my parents house will no longer be home. Avon will never be the same.
The hardest part about my parents’ move isn’t the moving, or the packing up, or even driving the Uhaul across country. It is the sense of identity crisis that it brings. This identity crisis happens to different people in different ways. It could be when a child leaves home, or when a parent or spouse dies. It could be when you are going through a divorce. It could come with the loss or changing of jobs.
This isn’t something that is new. Abram (Abraham) was told by God to leave his father’s house and the town that he called home to go to a place that God would show him, and Abram did. This couldn’t have been easy, yet he trusted in God. As I was thinking about my own experience of my parents moving, I wonder if Abram always referred to Ur, where his father lived, as his home or if he saw Canaan as his home?
Houses come and go, but as they say, “home is where the heart is”. But where is our heart? Is our home where we grew up? Is our home where we raised our family? Is our home where we currently live? What if we started to think about home, not as a physical building, but rather the comfort of God’s presence? What would it look like if our heart, like Abram’s, was to do God’s will and listen when God calls?
As I now am a father of three, it is now my job, as it was with my parents, to make a home for my children. A place where they feel welcome, a place they feel loved; a place where they can experience the love of God. I hope that no matter where God leads us in life, that we will always remember where our home is.