It is simple and straightforward. And yet it isn’t.
Am I talking about the place where I grew up? If so, which one?
Could I be going to my parents’ house for the holidays? Wherever they are feels like home to me.
It is familiar, the place where I feel like I belong. It is a place that makes my heart happy. In that case, it could be a place I need a visa to get to. It can be on the other side of the planet.
Ultimately, it is Heaven. My heart and soul will never feel completely at rest until I reach that final destination and I sigh my last sigh.
In the 4 decades I’ve lived, I have called a lot of places home. Even people who know me best have learned to wait for context before assuming they know where I am going when I say these words. But, one week ago today I added a new type of place to my list of definitions to the term. I bought my first home.
I was contemplating this as I planted some tomato seeds in a small pot which now rests in my kitchen window.
A friend of mine described her own experience to me a few weeks ago. As she unpacked her hair dryer she thought, “Now this is where my hair dryer lives.” Sound silly? Now that I am unpacking boxes, I feel that same way. Always before I moved into a place knowing that it was a temporary landing place. Much like the way a teenager thinks about making his bed, it is almost more effort than it is worth because you are just going to need to do it again soon. This time feels different. I think of my great-grandmother who lived in her house for her entire adult life. I am sure many of her possessions stayed in the very place she put them the day she brought them into the house. They became more than furniture, they were fixtures.
I have gone through many transitions. I have made a choice not to put my focus on acquiring things that would tie me down or make it hard to respond quickly to God’s lead in the dance of my life. I have had to work through some questions and even guilt about taking on this responsibility of home ownership. After praying, considering and listening to wise counsel of family and my community, I feel confident that this is a wise decision. That doesn’t mean it isn’t scary.
At the same time I am excited. I am blessed. I love my little house in my little neighborhood. Friends that I have grown to love are scattered in the houses around me. I pray for them and look forward to living life as their neighbor. I am painting walls and hanging pictures.
I am planting roots.