With no warning, we went back. I can’t say back home, because it is no longer our home, but back to what was always home until we moved just a few short months ago. I’m not sure if it was the suddenness of being in the place to which we had said goodbye, the seeing of things once so familiar, or the absolute culture shock from where we now live — most likely a combination of these — that was so jarring to our minds.
Christian and I left a day after we heard the news that my dear friend’s grandma to whom she has been caregiver for many years, was quickly passing from this world to the next. Needing to see my friend’s face and needing to help in any small way drove us to make the journey back. Our kids opted to stay home and care for things here since it wouldn’t be the kind of trip for visiting and such.
We drove all day to arrive in the evening in the place we had always known as home. But now, it looked different with the new perspective we have. The place in which we now live has very little traffic, no suburbia, and very few chain stores or restaurants. Heck, the nearest Walgreens is almost two hours away. Hustle and bustle are foreigners here. But there — everything is within reach. I thought I had missed some of that. Turns out, I hadn’t. It felt like so much stuff — chaos and noise and folks so busy running here and there that they can’t really see the folks around them. I know, I know. I hear it in myself. I sound like Sasquatch coming out of the woods. It did feel a bit like that.
We’ve been gone this long before. Like my dear friend pointed out, this is how long we were on our RV trip. And even when we were baby snowbirds we were gone quite some time. But then, we were wanderers and returning was coming home. This time was backwards and upside down in our minds.
“I think what you notice most when you haven’t been home in a while is how much the trees have grown around your memories.” — Mitch Albom
We stayed just a couple days with a day of travel added on to each end. I got precious stolen moments with my friend in the midst of this journey upon which she finds herself. I’m so very proud of her as she continues to pour out love in a way that is both precious and heart-wrenching. In the quiet hospital room, she whispered words of love, and remained ever-present, and made sure the Gaithers sang GG home.
And there’s that word again — home. For GG, I know of a few of the places that she called home. The southern home in which she grew up and lends cadence to her words, West Michigan where she spent her married years, and then in her granddaughter’s home where she thoroughly enjoyed watching her great-grandchildren live and play. Now, however, she got to really go to the home she longed for. At 96, she will get to meet her mother that she only knew for 6 short months. At 96 she begins again with her beloved Jesus — no longer hampered by the results of life and its living. Can you just imagine what her homecoming felt like?
“…No one has ever seen this, and no one has ever heard about it. No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” — 1 Corinthians 2:9
Having done all we could, we began our journey back. Back to our children and our pets. Back to a leaky drainfield pipe and wood to collect for winter. Back to the vistas and views of a gazillion stars and the absolute hush of the woods.
“Does it feel like home yet?” my husband asked me about halfway here. It does. I surprise myself by longing for it. My heart has found its new place. From being the one of us who didn’t want to leave her house for so long to now being the one who feels settled was a pleasant surprise. I asked him the same. He’s getting there. As we got closer and closer, it felt more familiar — and as our kids welcomed us back, I’m absolutely sure there is no longer a question.
This is it. This is where we establish a residence for our hearts and our happiness and the unity of our family. It’s where a legacy begins. Here, families will begin and live out their own love. Hearts and tummies will be nourished as we laugh and share around a common table. This is our home.
“‘I wonder if it will be — can be — any more beautiful than this,’ murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.” –L.M.Montgomery