Saturday, January 07, 2006

No Place like home?

Today I turned 44. Boom. I've been given this many years by a gracious God. His hand has been upon my every turn and his mercies have been truly new every morning.

So, what's this "no place like home business?" And who really wants to hear about where I am "at" anyway?

Well perhaps the way I feel today is something everyone feels at 44, or after a lot of life changes in a short space of time...perhaps it is as much part and parcel for the pastor's family as it is to those in the military.

Two of the nice ladies in our church (and we have many kind sisters there) came by for a visit with yummy food and cake. One regular visitor sent a lovely B-day card. (how'd she know?) One of my daughter's in law sent a fun/funky card which arrived today which touched my heart, I really love my second daughters!... my own daughter called from her in laws in Texas to wish her mum a happy day. my dear friend and former maid of honor from Northern Ireland sent her love and prayers...A Dear "old" friend in Crabtown called as well. I don't think I've had so many folk recall the day in years.

And yet I feel like Dorothy of "no place like home" fame. I don't feel homesick often because I don't really know what home is anymore
in the traditional sense of the word. I looked at a dictionary online and found it sterile. Their definitions were way too temporal dwelling based for me.

If home is where the heart is, then I am parceled out all over the world, like so many pieces of day old wedding cake, gone in every direction once the party is over. I've got a fair bit in heaven, (what my dense clay pot self can perceive of that reality beyond imagination) I've got a pretty sizeable chunk with my daughter, a very big and steady (and pleasantly comfy cozy too) chunk with "the man." I put her first in the list because she's had longer to grow her piece, but his is of course the hot house nursery of my current chunk. He's my hero and tries to guard my heart and fills it up in many ways with his kind affections, service and love. He is the cupbearer to my hand-maid.

I have a number fondly recollactions of sweet fellowship of the heart with those who feel to me like friends of the soul , those who share my passionate love of simple pure worship (or the closest as sinners will be able to have in this life), ornamented only with the faithful preaching, the sacraments and obedient offerings of the saints in worship. I have that sense of home with those folk, who yes, reside largely in the UK but also inthe states, scattered here and there like outposts on some underground railway of the saints, where the harps do not hang upon a tree and the songs of Zion are loved.

There is another friendship of the soul with the sisters and brothers in the saints who express such hunger and thirst for the Word of God, for godly living, for sharing the gospel with the world they inhabit, who long to exhibit compassion toward the lost, hungry and imprisoned, the hurting. I see people here, new friends, who without fanfair, take it upon themselves to visit the shut in, to lend practical aid, I see others who take on the causes of the wounded and less fortunate out of love for Christ. These souls I deeply desire to know better, to praise God together with, to approach his throne together for the causes around us.

Then there are the new slices of heart which are being cut and handed over, perhaps clumsily, like wedding cake in an undersized napkin, bits of crumb falling to the floor, icing sticking on the top, given to the people God has placed in our lives here, who seek the Lord beside us, who are like so many pilgrims trying to make their way back home, in fits and starts, glad to be a rag tag few, glad to have the word and each other. These parcels of heart, are definite, but not yet rooted, not yet given the entrenchment that I am now perhaps too painfully aware, takes time, years of time. As one who has always made friends and connections easily, today I don't think I ever appreciated how much time goes into the knitting of friendships. I felt teary when I hung up the phone with a friend who knows me as well as anyone in the world, and later with a daughter who knows me even better.

It takes time to build memories with folk, to have shared hours, stolen though they may feel from lives that seem all too urgent, where we grown in enjoyment and knowledge of each other. I bless God for the hearts that have been given to me here, those folk who have shared their concerns, their burdens, their disappointments and joy. I am pretty sure having prayer concerns for others knits us together extra fast . From our first visit out here when interviewing, the new folk felt like "ours," we went home with them in our hearts and on our lips before the throne of grace.We've had so many provisions here and kindnesses. God has done it, people have done it. I pray he enables this hermits heart, to be willing to have the amount of "people time"needed to build on these buds of grace. "Behold how they love one another"

(An aside here to those dear "friends" who have shared years of net/e- mail encouragement back and forth, you know who you are, you all have at times been the cake and the napkin holding it together when there were huge changes and no one nearby to call friend, you have been much used of God and instruments of mercy!)

New friends, Please don't mind the wee tear that longs for the "old familiar" it's not like I can go "home again." This is home, Dh is home, the warm bed, the favorite spot, the old bible, all the"home I's got" is right here....Back East, my parents are dead and gone, the family homestead sold,my daughter is wed and Bessie the cow is out to pasture.
The new friends have been unbelievably kind.

Each month here, has brought conversations, phone calls, cups of coffee with the saints in situ, and each one of those, has been a stone in the "new house, a potted herb on the sill, a throw for the sofa," the people feather our nest and give me hope that one day I'll be tearing up, for these sisters and brothers, if our days end in yet another place between here and glory.
So thanks folks, near and far, for being a refuge to the "homeless" wanderer...and forgive me for feeling my age...and rambling in my old familiar way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!! I am thankful to have met you and pray that we will be knit closer in friendship as the years past. You are a precious saint.