In my mind, I live in house that has stood longer than I have, built by hands that lived before my time. The floor creaks and the stairs are warped from generations of feet climbing up and down, softly wearing their reflections into the wood.
Ancient trees reach out arthritic hands to knock on the windows when the winds blow up, and out in the orchard, I can spend hours under gnarled apple trees and watch as the fruit swells fat and ripe. Decades have passed since shovels broke the dirt and turned the soil and sank saplings into the earth as a kind of security for the years to come.
This place, this home I imagine, is a place of generational blessing, where babies are nursed in the same rooms they grow up in, and the same rooms they sleep in when they come back with children of their own. Here, change is never sudden and new is measured in years, not hours or minutes. Each passing season brings a deepening in me—a peaceful settling in, the way a house settles in to the earth until it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends.
I long to be home like that, where home is a part of me, like the skin I live in.
But I’ve never had that.
And I never will.
All my life, I have been transplanted just as soon as the roots have started to wriggle deep into the soil. Once a handful of memories are created, they are packed up and moved on to a new place that doesn’t feel like mine, that doesn’t feel like me.
And every single time, I feel like a bit of plankton, floating about in a great big sea, with no idea what part of the blue is up, and what part of the blue is down, and all I want to do is plant myself somewhere for a great long time.
But the waves won’t let me.
It is my calling, and I know it, to be always a stranger, always a sojourner, always longing for a place to return to that does not exist. In a sense, everywhere is home, and nowhere, all at once.
My heart breaks over it sometimes. I want a place of my own, a little corner of the earth to claim and tame, subdue and improve. I want a little kingdom here, and I grieve when I realize that I will not have it, that my children will not have it.
There is no house. There is no land. There are no generational memories to make or keep and no spreading fruit trees by which to mark the seasons. There is no home.
At least, not here.
But on the other side of time and space there is a haven for my homeless heart. “I go to prepare a place for you,” He said, and my heart leaps when I read the words because I am a woman without a place. Those words are a precious promise to someone like me.
Just for a minute, I close my eyes and forget my wanderings, so I can see it. Nestled in among ancient trees is a house built by the Father who desires to be my rest. The staircase is worn smooth by the feet of the One who waits for me, His Bride, to come home, to be home. I think there must be moss on the garden stones and a fire on the hearth and a thousand memories held in by the walls, as if I have been there all along because it was meant for me, all along.
It is home.
All the longings of my earthly shell, every godly dream left unfulfilled, is there perfected and redeemed. Not a single sacrifice or service has gone unnoticed. It is all repaid in glorious abundance and loving detail. Even the waiting breaths, the questioning and tearful prayers, the years of doubts and fears and unrealized dreams—are there restored to me as if none of it was ruined or wasted.
Home. It is a true home from which I can never be uprooted Nothing can steal away the memories I’m storing up there, because all of it, past, present, and future, is built into that place. All of it is part of the story of that place, that home, and I am a piece of it. There will be no good-byes, no pulling away, no awkward beginnings, only—always—belonging.
This hope of heaven, this hope of home, is so glorious that even a small taste of it is better than anything I’ve found on earth. I must believe that if my wanderings leave me longing for heaven and dissatisfied with earth, then let me wander, and let me ache.
For surely, it is better to ache for heaven than to be content with earth.
Surely, it is a gift of God to wander anywhere that leads me closer to home.