September 13, 2017
Yeah… it’s been a struggle to write one of these. I have several that are ½ done but I would be embarrassed to send them. Actually if Ellen read them (my editor) she probably wouldn’t let me post them. Some are angry. Some are sophomoric. Some seem to have been written by a 3rd grader (And that is an insult to 3rd graders). Somehow my brain has just not been “into it” for the past few months. I don’t know what that means. This could be the beginning of a run of weekly ruminations or it could be the last for a month, two months or… Well, enough of that.
Like you, I have met many people in my life. And I have been through the standard conversation/getting-to-know-you moments.
- What’s your name
- Where are you from
- Where are you originally from
- What do you do for a living
I am always intrigued when the answer to the third question is, “Oh my… all over.” The person then goes on to tell you a story of their history and why they never stayed anywhere for very long… father was in the military, father’s job moved him constantly, father couldn’t keep a job, family tragedy so they lived with numerous relatives…
It occurs to me that too often they really have no place to call “home.” Their current address may be “home,” but they have no place where they are “from.” I’m not fully sure why but there is something sad about that. E.T. said, “No place like home.” For many of us that is true (not for all of us). Home is the place where significant, life altering experiences took place. Home is where mom and dad were. Home is where siblings were. Home is our house. Home is holidays. Home is old friends. Home is laughter. Home can be sadness but not to be lived out alone.
I spent the first 14 years of my life in Gibsonia PA. My mother and father were there (although not married from the time I was 6… it’s a long story). My sisters were there. My grandparents lived next door until I was 7. I had great friends here. But when I think of “where I am from” I don’t think of there. I think of the place I lived from the age of 14-18. It’s odd because my mother was gone, my sisters were gone (for the most part), my grandparents were gone and my friends that I had for 14 years were gone. But I think of it as “home” or “where I am from” because THE most significant growth in my life happened there. It could be that for many of us that’s the case, i.e., we change and mature more in our high school years than at any other time in life. But almost everything in my life that is important to me came as a result of those 4 years – my faith, my wife, my kids, my granddaughter… Again, it’s “where I’m from.”
Where are you from? What are the places and events that formed you and made you who you are today? Your story is not my story so maybe your answer is not as simple as mine. But it’s worth pondering.
If I asked you where Jesus was from, what might you say? Nazareth? Israel? Bethlehem? Well in his ministry years he was from “nowhere.” Matthew 8:20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He seemed to have no place to call home. But of course, ultimately he was from His Father. He was from heaven. That was His “home.”
Truthfully? It is our “home” as well. It is the place where Believers will spend the largest amount of our “creation.” Paul in 2 Corinthians says this:
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
Awaiting the New Body
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Sometimes we wonder why this existence is so difficult. We look at the world around us and the tragic circumstances and we ask “why”? I think the answer is fairly simple – we are not home. We are in a temporary dwelling place. A day will come when those who call Jesus Lord will finally find themselves at home. When someone asks where we are from we will say “right here.”