“You can never go home again.” I don’t know who said this, but I have found it to be true. You can never go back to what you remember, to what you feel, to what you think your home was like. I love my hometown. It is without a doubt the greatest hometown in the world. I honestly feel that way. But, it is no longer home. October will be two years since I lost my Mom. July will be one year since I lost my Granny. I have been back to my hometown three times since last July. I love seeing family. I love driving the back roads and remembering the times I had there, but it is not home.
The weirdest thing in the world for me is to go home and not have my Mom there. Her stuff is there, the house hasn’t changed physically, but it is not the same. The same is true of my Granny’s house. It has nothing to do with those who still live there and still make both homes inviting and warm, but it is not home. Something is missing. Something will never be the same again. This isn’t necessarily bad, though to me it is sad for now. Life goes on. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Memories sustain and help, but the laughter is gone, the meals and hugs are gone, Mom and Granny are gone. This is life under the sun as the preacher of Ecclesiastes reminds us over and over. Life comes and goes and there is a time for death just as there is a time for life.
Home is meant to be a place of love, refuge, comfort, and encouragement. That was my home. I loved growing up in my house. It helped make me the man I am today. It helped me know what kind of woman I wanted to marry and the kind of home I wanted to make with my family.
Our house was filled with love. No matter what you did you knew you were loved, and no matter who you were you could know the love of my Mom and Dad. I am so proud of the fact that my Mom and Dad see no color, see no distinction in people that keep them from being loving and kind to them. It is the greatest lesson I learned. We were an open armed family. I grew up knowing my parents loved me and knowing our house and family was a place I was loved.
Home was a refuge. I am a homebody. I like to be home and much of this relates back to the fact that home was refuge. It was the place all of my friends hung out. It was the place I was glad to come home to from school and work and college. It is a warm place where you can be yourself and you can be honest. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you are not. Home is where I could go and where I could find refuge.
Our home growing up was extremely comforting. Mom and Dad built a home where we were comfortable in our own home. It was a place where no matter the day you had you could come home and be comforted knowing you were loved and rest. Furniture wasn’t moved around. There was no turmoil or fighting. The cooking was great and we ate a lot. We laughed at stories and jokes. We enjoyed television together and we rested well. It was home.
Growing up in our house we were encouraged to be who we were and do what we liked to do. I was encouraged to get a good education and be a good steward of what God had given to me. Mom was an encourager. When you thought you couldn’t do something she reminded you you could. I loved this about my Mom. My Dad is still the same way. He is an encourager. Home was a place you were encouraged to do more, to not settle, to do your best.
Now, as I have moved on, gotten married, had a baby, and am building my own home I look back to the home I grew up in to help me build a home filled with love, a home that is a refuge, a home filled with comfort where we feel safe to be ourselves, and a home of encouragement. I really don’t think my home now had truly become home until Mom passed away two years ago and Evahlyn was born. That sunk it in for me. That made it real. This is now the place for us to build a home for Evahlyn, a place for her to grow, to be loved, to find refuge, to be comfortable with who God has made her to be, and to be encouraged to be a faithful steward of the gifts and passions God has given to her.
There will always be a romanticized version of home remembering the good times and the love of the childhood home. In some way it will always be my home. We just returned from a weekend spent at Granny’s and with my family. As I have come home and thought about these things and how hard it is to be there without Mom and without Granny the Lord has reminded me the homes we build here are temporary and shadows of the home He has prepared for us. The love, refuge, and comfort we build here is nothing compared to the love, refuge, and comfort of our eternal home with Him. The longing in my soul for home will be filled when I go to be with Him or He comes again to receive me. He is our true and eternal home. I am reminded the momentary affliction of grief and longing for lost loved ones will be surpassed by the joy of the reunion we will have in our eternal home. “You can never go home again” may be true here on this earth, but we have not experienced our true home in all of its glory and beauty yet. We will go to our true, eternal home and there we will know joy, we will know love, we will know refuge, and we will know comfort. So, be encouraged. Home is coming. Mom and Granny are experiencing it now. I long for the day I experience it with them.