We've been living in hotels for two weeks and we're looking for a house to rent here in Redding for a week of that. And it's not going particularly well.
Some of the houses have been dingy and dark with stained carpeting. One house was a mobile home surrounded by broken cars and tractors. We've put in applications on four of them but so far, we haven't been chosen for any of them.
What is home?
I remember our first home on Neeve Street, a 100-year old semi-detached with hardwood floors in a ragged part of Guelph. Our bedroom was the dining room because a double bed wouldn't fit up the stairs. We were so proud. I even planted vegetables. Two of our children were born while we lived there. But when the kids were young, home was a source of stress for me. It was my workplace. The laundry was endless and the kids' needs meant that mine always took the back seat. I was tormented by feelings of inadequacy as a mother and housekeeper. But still, it was where I belonged. I loved our homes in Guelph.
My last home was a cabin at camp with mice and secondhand furniture and a lovely shady porch that at once felt private but with the comforting sounds of camp filtering up through the leaves. It was beautiful.
Where is home?
On the way here, our car and each other and God's invisible grip were home. And I was totally okay with that. But now I'm getting anxious to have drawers to put my underwear in. And the ability to make tea. And a cozy place to sit and read under a blanket that smells like home.
But all those comforts are just echoes of where we really belong. In reality, we are vagabonds, ragamuffins, passing through this world on our way to our real home, our heavenly one. Our true citizenship is in Heaven.
Yesterday, I was reading about how a wealthy Shunammite woman set up a bedroom in her home for Elisha the prophet. I think she wanted him to hang out at her place and feel at home. But when she needed him to heal her son, she had to go find him in the mountains. He was more comfortable being uncomfortable, searching for the presence and voice of His God.
And yesterday, I was listening to a quiet worship set and the musician was singing from Psalm 23. "You prepare a table for me," he sang. "I will dwell in Your house; I will dwell with you forever."
Bethel means "house of God." We have come to dwell in God's house. I know He will find us a place to make tea and store our underwear. He is preparing a table somewhere in Redding for our family. In fact, about a month ago, a dear friend shared a picture God gave her of Jesus setting a beautiful table for me. Then the picture changed to me preparing a table for others. I know Jesus is preparing a table for us right now and I know we will eat there and invite others to eat with us and it will be glorious.
But more than that, He is preparing a table laden with a feast of abundant spiritual blessing for us. And we will dwell in the House of the Lord. He is our home.
I'm sailing home to you I won't be long
By the light of moon I will press on
Until I find my love
- Josh Garrels, Ulysses- Anne