I have a lot of stories about “home,” about how my family and I have wrestled with what home means when we live the life that we do.
Just last weekend we went on a three day trip. When we came back to our home, a house that we are house-sitting for a year, I stepped in the door, and immediately felt an odd sense of “Do we really live here?”
Moments later my daughter came to me with tears in her eyes. “Mom, for some reason this doesn’t really feel like home. I know heaven is our real home, but I’m starting to feel like we’re never going to have a home on this earth.”
Clearly, home is a complicated issue for us.
I know that you all understand that. So can we take a moment to share our stories about home? Because when we know that we’re not alone, it makes the journey lighter. Let’s create a space to share, knowing that here we’ll be understood.
When I think of all the stories, of all the conversations I’ve had with my kids about “home,” an experience from three years ago is what stands out in my mind. Here’s a post I wrote back then that we thought we should share for those that need it today.
“Mom, is some other family going to come live in our home?” my nearly six-year-old daughter asked me.
“No, honey, we’re going to Thailand for six weeks, and then we’ll come back. This is our home,” I said in my most assuring voice as I placed the last items into our carry-on.
I knew she was thinking of our last home, the one we had left in California five months before. We had made sure the kids saw our apartment empty, so they knew it wasn’t home anymore. We told them that another family would come live there. Our new home was in China.
“But what if they don’t know we’re coming back, and they just come in?” she pressed, obviously not convinced.
I paused in the middle of our get-to-the-airport ordeal to kneel and look into her worried eyes. “No one will come and take our home. You don’t need to worry. We’ll lock the door, and it will be here when we get back.”
“Maybe we should put a sign on our door that says, ‘A family lives here and is coming back,'” she says. I mentally add this to my list of “Signs your child is a TCK.” And I picture her telling this story to her counselor someday.
Moments later, we’re in a van pulling away from our building. My son suddenly starts freaking out in grand three-year-old tantrum style, lashing out at his sister next to him.
I separate/calm/discipline, trying to figure out what had happened. Then he, the kid who never verbalizes his emotions, sobs out, “My heart is sad.”
He thinks we’re moving. An ache courses through me. The last time we did suitcases and airports, we left our home and never returned.
“Oh, baby … we’re coming back. This is our home. We’re going to Thailand now, but we will come back to your room and your toys. We are coming back.”
He breathes a stuttered sigh, his body now loose and quiet. With the back of his hand he wipes at his tears.
I’m the one still reeling.
When you live the life we live, the word will pierce you through.
I try to speak truth to myself.
The truth that heaven is our home.
That home is where we are.
That the purpose is ordained.
That learning the world by sight and taste and smell is better than from a book.
Really, who gets to ride elephants and hold baby tigers and stroll the Great Wall?
It’s joy, breath-taking delight.
But also, there’s all the moments we don’t take pictures of. You know the ones, the days when this whole life of ours is so, so hard it hurts.
We need to acknowledge those too.
Perhaps you’re like me, quick to pull on the tough girl mask, to brush it all off as “no big deal.” But layer up all the “no big deals” of our lives, and you end up with a mountain of big deal.
We need to mourn the the pain, the loss, the cost.
Some days, just some days, we need to let ourselves feel it all.
And then to sit and simply say through the tears, “My heart is sad.”
How do you grieve the pain, the loss, the cost of this life?
What are your “no big deals”?
What are your stories about “home”? (We know not all of them are sad, so share the joy-filled ones too!)
This is The Grove and we want to hear from you! You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.
Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesHome. You can add yours!