Home is a concept that has long interested me.  The word carries with it strong connotations of physical places.  “I’m going home,” one says after a long day at work.  “I’m coming home,” one says to family as a holiday approaches.

But what does it mean?  An old adage says, “Home is where the heart is.”  Should this be taken literally to mean that wherever my physical heart is–in other words, wherever I happen to be–is home, or should it be taken symbolically to mean that wherever your love is directed is home?  The first explanation seems silly, because why, then, would anyone experience homesickness?  The second seems confusing–does that mean that books and high schoolers and history and mint and crochet and rain and etc., which I love and which at times have made me feel at home, are my home?  But I have also felt homesick even in the midst of all these things.

What, then, is home?  When I long for home, what am I missing?  When I feel at home, what is the cause?

Right now, I’m missing two homes.  The first home was places–my family moved a lot, so no specific house–where my family lived in an established way.  There, things were predictable.  There, I had a place or two that were distinctly mine.  There was peace, there were noises that were sometimes annoying but always routine, there were smells and sights that made me, me.  There were people around whom I could do anything, look any way, and say anything.  It was safety, it was solitude, it was compassion and support.

The second home I never associated with places, just with people.  These people became more than friends, they were my sisters, they were my brothers.  We knew each other, understood each other, we were vulnerable with each other, we strengthened and challenged each other.  Never have I felt more like I belonged, more a part of an “us” that was not exclusive.  They were receiving and giving love, they were life support, they were belonging.

Now, the first is gone–this place of residence is unpredictable, I have no one place I can surely call mine, there is only real peace late at night.

Now, the second is fading or forever changed–we are scattered, we are busy, we are to some extent moving on, and I am everywhere around people to whom I am new and on the outside (though this is slowly changing, but it takes a long time).

Yet I still have this feeling that somewhere, I belong; somewhere, there is safety; somewhere, there is peace.

Right now, I am really excited for the day I reach that place, when I reach that sacred land with no tears or pain or death.  I’m not trying to sound morbid or suicidal, but I’m really excited when I reach a country of my own, “a better country–a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:14-15).  This unchanging hope, this everlasting assurance, gives me great strength to press on, even in times when I feel entirely alone.

But it is not the place that gives me hope.  The location is not what will make me be home on that day I die (be it tomorrow or eighty years from now).  No, for it will be like this:

“When I reach the other side,

I want to look You in the eye

And know that I’ve arrived

In a world where I belong.”

(Switchfoot, “Where I Belong”)

Jesus, my Lord, my Love, my Life–I am Yours.

And so, I find, at the end of this query, that home, simply put, is Him.  And the times I feel home, it is because it is like what He is, a reflection of how Home will be.  And when I finally am forever with Him, then I will finally know, fully and truly, what is home.

And so,

“Until I die I’ll sing these songs

On the shores of Babylon,

Still looking for a home

In a world where I belong,

Where the weak are finally strong,

Where the righteous right the wrongs–

Still looking for a home

In a world where I belong.”

(Switchfoot, “Where I Belong”)

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