My son didn't come home this summer.
It was his first summer away at college, so he traveled to visit friends, looked for a job and kept himself busy spreading his budding adult wings.
I remember when I was in university thousands of miles away from home. I, too, relished my independence, but occasionally I would long for home.
Like I'm yearning for home now.
It's been 11 months, and I'm still not back in my home. I'm not the only one. There are many of us who have been displaced by the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma and who are patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for the repairs to be completed on our homes so that we can return home.
Homesickness. It's a feeling I think we can all relate to.
But what exactly do we miss from home? Is it the people? Is it the place? Or is it the feeling? The assurance that you are safe and protected? Known and loved?
I've thought a lot about what home means recently and have marveled at the times I've found home in the strangest of places and the oddest of times. But once you find Home you never forget it.
Take for example the days following Hurricane Irma. I would rise with the dawn, make my way through the rubble, climb out through the broken door and sit on what remained of my porch. With the roof torn off and most of the banisters gone, I had a clear view of my surroundings... the sea, the sky and the stripped landscape. It never failed to take my breath away. But as I sat there amid the shattered, unsafe remains of my home and my island, communing in silence with the sovereign God, I would find Home.
Or even during the actual hurricane, when the noise was terrifyingly loud, and fear surged through my body and threatened to overcome me, I found Home in the words of the Psalms.
There have been other times, too. Times when I struggled to let go the reins of 'control', times when I experienced deep faith-testing loss, times when I've been struck hard by my own weaknesses, times when I relaxed in a season of plenty. And in all those times when life was a lot and I longed for home, I found Home each time I retreated in silence and remembered my God.
Once you find Home you never forget it.
It's difficult to find the words to describe Home. Accepted. Loved. Empowered. Where compassion and mercy are the norm... where life brims with possibility... where you never have to doubt who you are because you know whose you are.
If you haven't found Home, you'll never find rest.
So now, as summer nears to an end, please join me in taking stock. Let's take some time to pause and examine where we are.
Perhaps you've found home before, but you've drifted a bit or maybe a lot. That's okay. You're always welcomed back.
Or perhaps you've never found home, but in the quiet you long for it. Deep down, there's an unrest, and you've been searching for it for a long time.
There's good news, my friend. For you and for me.
'All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.' John 6:37
I may not be in my physical home, but I can always be at Home.
For Home is not a place; it's not even a feeling. It's a Person, waiting for us to return to where we belong. He stands with open arms, offering Himself to quench the thirst deep within us.
It's still time to make it Home this summer. And I pray for you, for my son, for all of us... that we will find Home even when we are not at home and that we'll embrace the God who runs to welcome us back.
I hope you'll enjoy the video below as you ponder where you are.
'When God Ran'
Sung by Benny Hester. Video by Theo Meade.