I first left home when I was about six – sneaking my pyjamas and a sleeping bag out of the house and setting up in my big brother’s toy tent atop a nearby hill at dusk. Until dad saw us, and told us to get back home for dinner.
I left home again when I was ten and our family shifted to a new town. And again when I went to University at eighteen. Then shifting to the South Island as a newly-wed. Then back to the North Island when babies started to happen and grandmas became essential.
Leaving home was part of life for a long time. But then for almost 25 years our home was an old villa in a small town where we raised a family. And now… we’ve left home. Again.
Recently I found myself, after a couple of days in a nearby city, thinking happily about going ‘home’ to the lovely apartment provided by our local friends that has become our new place to do family, photography, cooking and cleaning, parties and planning and all the activities that take place in a home.
I know that this isn’t really our ‘home’. This is a temporary home – greatly appreciated and SO valuable to us. But though we talk sometimes, like many foreigners, of ‘home’ as our nation of origin, I also know that even if we end up back in the same old NZ villa, it will never be ‘home’ again in the same way.
Home now is something I look forward to. A place of rest and peace and productivity and great good fellowship. Home is something we experience in glimpses and moments. I appreciate every flash of that divine mansion, but it doesn’t come from a particular place so much as it comes from belonging to a particular family. My home will be where they are, and they are everywhere our Father has called us to be. And that family and that calling and that home… are eternal.