reflections on "home"

How have I been spending my days lately? Thinking a lot about home. I don’t just mean Lexington. (That’s probably the home I’ve been thinking least about. Sorry Mom). But I’ve had several events in the past week or so that have spurred thoughts about my several homes…

Last weekend was Samford’s Homecoming and I got to return with my best friend Mary Beth to one of my homes– “Oh Samford, alma mater true”. (See her blog for some photos of our trip). On Friday night, after dinner, we went to the Zeta house to see some friends. This was maybe the strangest part of my homecoming. I sat in my old room, and it was one of those surreal moments when it felt like it was only yesterday that I lived there, but at the same time, it felt like ages had passed. I think that’s what happens when you’ve done “ages” of growing in a six month period and then are surprised to return home to find that things are pretty much the same (and what’s more, that you’re glad you’ve grown beyond that home). Samford was a wonderful home for the past four years. Birmingham might be one of my favorite places in the world. And it was good to be back, but it wasn’t “mine” any more. Home… but not quite.

MB and I came back to Atlanta on Saturday night, because I preached in church Sunday morning. My first time outside of class. (I loved it!) As I continue to invest there, I see how Peachtree is becoming my church home. I’ve been thinking a lot about the responsibilities of church members, especially because we have a congregational model of leadership– meaning, the onus of leadership falls on the laypersons. Church membership at Peachtree is not taken lightly. We have a saying: “every member a minister”… and we struggle and work to live this out, for the good, bad, (and the– dare I say– ugly?) That’s part of uniting with a church home– not backing out when things get a little messy, because that’s life and that’s commitment. Church membership/leadership/ministry is a joy and a burden and a journey and a challenge… and I’m learning all about it in my new church. Becoming home… but not yet.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about Campbellsville… and longing to be there! While I have never lived in C-ville, it is where I have spent every single Christmas, nearly every 4th of July, every day-after-Thanksgiving, and lots and lots of other times… sometimes it feels more like “home” than Lexington. I would say that most of my significant family memories are in Campbellsville, and I miss my other-Kentucky-home a lot right now. The good news? Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I’ll get to be there in 12 days. Going home… not soon enough!

One last reflection on home. I’ve been entering into a “home” every Thursday of the semester. The children at Hagar’s House have a special place in my heart. Sometimes I forget that I’m the stranger in their home. But this week I had a sharp reminder of the reality that four hours a week isn’t enough time to erase lifetimes of vastly different experiences… This Thursday, when one of the girls told me that her family was leaving, I said “great!” It always makes me a little sad when the families leave. (I know this is the purpose of a short-term homeles shelter, but I hate to say goodbye. I do it with a bittersweet heart.) On my way out the door, I saw her mom and stopped to say goodbye. She met me with a response I wasn’t expecting. She said, “We don’t have anywhere to go”. I felt the air leave my lungs. I should know that this happens sometimes. The system “fails” and families run out of time at the shelter before they find a place to live. But I felt her hopelessness, and I was helpless to say anything meaningful to her. So I let her do the talking. Because what can my words do? I went home distraught, wondering “why?” Why couldn’t I find any words? Why is it fair that I study Hebrew verbs in my comfortable quiet house when she is in this kind of crisis? Why couldn’t she just stay another week? Why would they turn her and her babies out? Why isn’t there a father in any of these women’s lives? Why have they been abandoned? Why has society failed them? Why the misdistribution of wealth in our country? Why do we allow the injustice? Home… (a basic right?) denied to too many!

Home has been on my mind a lot lately…

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