Friday, April 10, 2009

Home is where the heart is

Some people live in the same place all their lives. That was more common in the past.

In our mobile, transient society, people often follow jobs–going wherever the best jobs are. Or, in some cases, going wherever any jobs are.

For some people, moving away, moving out of state, is a relief. They’re chaffing at the bit. They never look back.

Maybe they had a horrible childhood. Maybe that hated their neighborhood.

But other people always have a soft spot for their hometown or homestate. And they pay a return visit every so often.

Going back home can leave you with conflicted feelings. On the one hand, it’s great to be back. To be physically there. Have it all around you. Not like remembering it or seeing it in pictures.

All the old feelings come flooding back. The fond memories. Being there triggers a host of associations. From childhood. Youth. Coming of age.

But, at the same time, it’s a bittersweet experience because you know you have to leave again. You have to put it behind you once again.

You’re there just long enough to feel right at home, only to up and leave. To turn your back once more on that fond and familiar world.

While you’re there, you can’t help reminding yourself that this is temporary.

It’s a very odd feeling to be somewhere that used to be home, still feels like home, but no longer is home–while your real home, your new home, the place you now call home, never quite feels like home.

It’s an odd feeling to go back to a place where you used to belong, what you used to call home, but feel like you’re now an outsider. That you no longer belong. There’s this tension between the past and the future. Recollection and reality.

And the walk of faith is like that, too. The Christian is a pilgrim. A nomad. He has a foot in two worlds.

For him, the point of tension lies not between the past and the present, but between the present and the future. He lives in one place, but yearns for another. And the longer the journey, the deeper the longing. The passage of time intensifies the alienation with this world, and intensifies the anticipation for the world to come.

There’s a sense in which every day is Holy Saturday for Christians. Good Friday is behind us, but we await the Easter morn. In this life we hold a vigil for the life to come.

We wait for an angel to move the stone, for sunlight to flood our sepulcher, as we awaken to the light, and walk right out of the tomb–to greet the everlasting dawn.

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