February 1st, 2022 by Barb Buffington
Scripture says that in heaven there will be no more weeping and sorrow or crying or tears…. that is our destiny, our eternal HOME, but what about as we journey on this earth?
We are "walking each other home on this earthly journey toward Heaven" but what is home here on earth…what does HOME look like in the meantime? Where and how do we share our tears and our sorrows (along with the joys) while we are here?
I have lived in many houses over the years, I have never thought of the walls and structure of a house or the décor to be what makes a home (as Sara wrote in this article).
I think it is many things and looks different depending on who you are, your family, and where your circumstances find you. Perhaps HOME for you is more than one thing or place – HOME can have many faces.
For some children I know, school is more like home than where they live. Why, you ask? Well, at school they are safe, they are fed and cared for, and there are stable adults who show up day in and day out to teach them, nourish them, and they are a community.
Many do not have that when they leave school, but go to ill-equipped homes, perhaps no hot water or a leaky roof, and many without healthy adults – for example, we know of a student whose mother is addicted to drugs and is a prostitute. For this child, school vacations and holidays are times for waiting to go back to school, where they will be nourished and loved again. School can be HOME.
Another face of HOME is where people know you and know your name! (This is a big deal.)
Do you remember the theme song from the old sitcom Cheers? Here is the chorus:
…Be glad there’s one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to go where people know
People are all the same
You want to go where everybody knows your name
…Where everybody knows your name
There is a breakfast place Carl and I go to a few times a year and have been going for over 2 decades. When we walk in, we are greeted by a beautiful Jamaican woman as if she has been waiting for us for days, as well as the rest of the crew who are from countries around the world, like the gentleman from the Ukraine who shares with us the struggles of his family back in his home country.
It is as if we belong and all the staff are glad to see us! It is so welcoming! And, it feels so very good – they all know our names, and talk to us, ask about our life, they care who we are! We know their names, too, and we sit together and catch up on their families and their lives.
We saw them last week and are already looking forward to going back to see them again! That feels like a piece of what HOME is. I like going to places where I belong, and where people truly care – don’t we all need to feel this? One face of HOME is where everybody knows your name!
Sometimes the face of HOME is a group, maybe your church community. Perhaps you are part of a small group, life group, grief group, AA group, and the list goes on… for many, that is HOME, providing identity, and deep connection, where people are “for you,” and understand you.
I have some friends who get together several times a week for Happy Hour – it is much more than getting together for a glass of wine. They have done this for years. They are good, good, friends and I imagine they are like family for each other, they would do anything for one another, and being together feels like HOME.
There are times when HOME is in your house, with those you love – in our family, we have a dinner every Thursday night – usually 13 people, three generations. That is HOME for me…
It is a gift that I do not take for granted, it is a place of joy, laughter, sometimes sorrow and tears, where we break bread together, have some fellowship, and do regular ordinary things, and can be ourselves... kids playing games, the adults catching up or sharing a beer, sometimes just sitting and being, quiet or talking…
It is a safe place, and I pray when others join us, they sense acceptance and love. This time and place and family are HOME for me.
The In the Meantime doesn’t last forever for any of us. A few days ago, the wife of one of my younger brothers left the hospital to go into hospice in her own home – she left a place with a clinical environment, and hospital noises, and chose to go be in the comfort of her own house, a sanctuary, surrounded by her husband, son and daughters who love her so very much, and her dog.
She can listen to music that she knows; she is able to watch the snow fall outside her window, and she can rest in peace.
That is the face of what home is.
This is home for her for only a little while longer, when she will be going to her heavenly HOME, her true HOME, forever. My brother and his children are walking Becky HOME as I write this.
In the meantime, as we journey on in this world, remember that HOME has many faces. The gift of life is a fragile one, and as we live here, if we could all be more conscious of this precious gift and turn more of our lives into faces of home, I think we will reflect Christ’s kingdom by accepting each other, being “for each other,” and loving each other lavishly – and, the world just might be transformed, one HOME at a time.
Did one of the faces of HOME resonate with you? What is HOME for you? Let me know in the comments below!