Thomas Wolf said, “You can’t go home again.” In fact he wrote a whole book about it. I must confess I have not read the book but I believe I understand, in essence, what he is saying. He is saying, “You cannot recreate the memories of your past. You can almost always return to the place, but eventually, you can never return to home—the actuality. It is gone as gone can be.”
Yet, I did go home last week. I packed my car and drove to Northern California— where I lived and worked for more than forty years. I was anxious to see my “forever” friends—to hug them and laugh and eat with them. I enjoyed the familiarity of the church events, but I have been gone for seven years, and things are not really the same. I did not drive past the apartment, where I had lived for eighteen years, or the house where Cecil lived for so long before we married. Maybe California is not my home after all.
Then I remembered how, when I lived in California, I used to go “home” to Arizona for Christmas and other special days. I was raised there, and for a while, my Mom was still there.
One day, my sister asked, “Why do you call Arizona home? You have lived somewhere else far longer than you ever lived here.”
True. I had lived in Arizona the first twenty-eight years of my life. Since then I have wandered the world. During my years as an evangelist, I had no place to call home. I just stayed wherever. Being the nest builder that I am and making attachments easily, I believe I could have been happy almost anywhere.
Now, I live in Arizona again, but did I really come home?
My California friends said, “When are you coming back home? We miss you. You belong here.”
My Arizona friends said, “Why go to California? You have everything you need here.”
Then there is Europe where I lived for years. I had a lovely home, wonderful friends, and challenging work that made my heart glad. My memories of that time are marvelous, and there is a huge longing in my heart to return there one more time.
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”
That’s true, I guess, but though I have strong attachments to the various places I have lived, and life in those places has contributed to who I am, neither Arizona, nor California or Europe is really home to me.
Pliny the Elder (23 – 79 AD) is credited with coining the phrase “Home is where the heart is.” He was a Roman naval commander who spent his life leaving for extended periods of time. He yearned for a place he wanted to return to.
Many have tried to define the word “Home.”
It is a place where you feel in control and properly oriented in space and time.
Home is where one is most emotionally attached.
Home is a place that is predictable and secure.
Robert Frost said, “Home is the place that, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
However, whatever home is, I have decided it is not a place out there that you can return to. It is something inside me—something I carry around with me. It has much to do with the condition of my heart.
We used to sing and old song that said—
“This world is not my home.
I’m just passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue…
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.”
In John 14:2-3, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, and…I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am you may be also.”
Again, in Colossians 3:2-4, we are told to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth…for your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, you will appear with Him in glory.”
I don’t think I will ever feel really at home anywhere until I am at home with Him in glory. He is my heart. He is my home.
THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!