Life can feel like a whirlwind sometimes: it can knock us off our feet and send us flying. I find that when life shakes me up, what rises to the surface is a longing for comfort and home. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve finished school, moved into a new apartment, and started a new job, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been transitioning hard.
Transitions are always difficult, even when they are good and exciting. Sometimes navigating life feels like we’ve placed in the middle of a maze and told to find our way out, and if we don’t find our way we’ll starve, or the wolves will come for us.
And all I want to do is sit and drink tea, for if I find myself in a strange place why not be like Alice, and make friends with the strangeness, and drink tea while I am here? While the rabbit runs past me, looking at his watch, I will be here sipping my tea and watching the day grow dark.* I want to feel at home, even when the world is strange around me.
Confusion is hard to sift through; newness is hard to make friends with.
The walls are not my friends yet, they are new and strange, white and cold.
Why do new things strike fear in me? Moving and transitioning is not the easiest thing for me. I don’t want to feel like I must strive day and night for a crumb, I just want to feel the fragile weight of my body at rest in a safe place.
What makes a place feel safe? Is it the clothes in the dresser, the pictures on the wall, the food in the fridge? Maybe it is a person, or people that you love, all there in that space with you.
What if safety is a Spirit, not a space? What if home is a person, not a place? Perhaps safety is the presence of God that is burning quietly in your heart like a candle, making every place a refuge and every space a home. Maybe we are not unlike the turtles and the snails, with the ability to carry home with us wherever we go. Maybe home is just love, safety, and belonging, and it is spiritual, not physical.
What if instead of a fear I saw a promise, the promise that He will be with me. The promise that there are good things still to come. The promise that no matter where I land, no matter what height or depth my life reaches, God will be there with me, and His Spirit will guide my steps. His presence will be both a solid place to stand and a soft place to land.
And I am overwhelmed when I remember the truth:
Relationship with God is home.
My body is a temple of God’s Spirit.
My heart is where God chose to make His home.
He chose to make His home with us. Isn’t it beautiful, that every place God gave us as a home He also chose to dwell? The Garden of Eden was home to the first man and woman, not just because it was made for them, but because there they dwelt with God. Our bodies that we live in are homes for the Spirit of God, and if you are a believer, He dwells with you every moment. Heaven is our final home, not because it is perfect and lovely, but because there we will live with God.
The concept of home is now ringing around my heart in a hundred ways: home in the person of Christ, home in the sky, Christ made His home with me, God invited me to live in His home…
And all of the strange new things don’t feel so scary anymore. If Christ is here, then this is home. If I am in Christ, then I am home wherever I go.
And I’m struck by the strangeness of this revelation, and how I am stuck on the word home when I also have spent a lot of my life praying for and serving those we call home-less.
Are we not all homeless in a way? Every one of us can relate to feeling like a wanderer, even if it’s just for a day. We all travel to places we’ve never been before, and though we may not all be homeless or immigrants or wanderers, we all know what it is like to feel out of place, to feel new and uncertain and to long for a familiar face.
The word pilgrim came to my mind, and do you know what it really means? It means “a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons” As followers of God, we are pilgrims, on a journey towards home, but not there yet. But the journey is sacred too, it is full of meaning because God has made a home with us.
Christ is the true home for every believer, the true home for all of mankind. Aren’t we all searching for our home, and don’t we only find it when we find God? Like Augustine so famously said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” And this makes me think of all the pretty people in pretty homes who go through a whole life without Christ, and though they have houses and cars and jobs, in their hearts are they ever really home?
And I think about my friends without physical homes, and how they need a lot of physical resources but also they need to find a spiritual home, a home that will last beyond this earth. They need a home that keeps them safer than apartment walls and warmer than a heating system. A home that is not just a roof over their heads but is a family to belong to. A home that travels with them, like the turtles and the snails (which are nature’s display of a spiritual truth, if you choose to look at it that way).
Like the turtles and the snails, home is a thing we carry with us – the presence of Christ.
Like the birds that fly south for the winter, home is a place that we journey towards
& like the fish that swim in the sea, home is everywhere we breathe
Because God is with us,
and in heaven we will be with God.
Please enjoy a list of songs that drift through themes of home, wandering, homelessness, being at home in Christ, and looking towards the final home of heaven. I hope you are filled with peace in Christ, knowing that His presence is your true home.
*If you got confused, I’m referring to Alice in Wonderland, the tea party she had with the creatures she met in Wonderland, and the white rabbit. She was in a strange land but sat down, drank tea, and made herself at home.