We are traveling back to Southern California soon for a visit and I keep catching myself saying, “when we’re home we can…”
But last week we put Arizona plates on our cars and we are daily running into people we “know” at the store. Today I am chasing down three packages that got accidentally sent to the house on Courage Street since obviously, that is no longer our home. Three single guys live there now and I’m sure they’ll love my Target shipment of toiletries and cute beach towels.
Since moving here, we have been anxious for it to feel like home. After waiting 6 weeks to move into our house, we finally feel like we live here. But the jump from having an address to feeling at home takes time.
Home is where you are comfortable, where you have history and things are familiar. A place where every conversation is not a “get to know you” session and where the investment you’ve put into relationships shows. That doesn’t happen overnight.
The sense of home (and the actual house I live in) matters deeply to me; the one I came from, the one I’m creating for my family and the one I extend to others. The plaque on the wall that would say “Home is…where the heart is, where you are, where you make it, where our story begins, where mom is, where the coffee is hot, where the pants aren’t, where the wi-fi connects automatically,” are all saying the same thing. Home is where I am known.
Being known is something we all want (and need) even if we pretend otherwise. God created us that way, there’s no getting around it. When we are finally home with Jesus that need will be met in its fullness by him, but I think He wants us to start tasting that love here. Knowing and being known on deep levels gives us a taste of the freedom and acceptance and commitment that Jesus’ love is all about. It requires though that we share honestly and invite people in. Doing that is risky, but I believe it’s the best way to live. (read more about that here)
I am giving myself plenty of time in this new place with these new people because investment is long-term work. But I am tempted sometimes to avoid letting it happen. This move has taken us from those that really know us and I feel it. We don’t have a lot of plans on our calendar and even when we do, it takes a lot of energy to be in the building stage. It’s hard to start over. I don’t want to make new friends because I like the ones I had. What if I don’t love it here? What if I don’t find kindred people?
Well, I tell myself- I certainly won’t love it here if I don’t make it home. I can embrace new friends without losing my old ones. Eventually, these places and people will be familiar. As we put our sweat equity into this house, become a “regular” somewhere, create trust with new friends, it slowly builds.
This week I noticed the first tastes of home-becoming. We are starting to feel the rhythms of our church and this little town, we have found some favorite places and we’re feeling less and less like outsiders. We got some flowers planted, some paint on the walls and even a few pictures hung. And I see it beginning. We’ve started inviting people over, which is significant because 1. That’s what we do at home 2. It means we have some friends 3. It means we have a place to invite them into.
Each day we are more thrilled about making this house we bought beautiful, functional and a place for others to come in and be known. While we ease into this new life, my hope is that we (and our house on Phoneix Street) would be able to offer people a home. A place of life, freedom, hot coffee, acceptance, fun, good food, truth, comfort… and where the wi-fi connects automatically.