There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? ~ John 14:2 (The Message)
I remember sitting on a fallen spruce tree on top of one of the first passes that Ro and I climbed on the Colorado Trail. There were three or four “twenty-somethings” with us. All of us were catching our breath, refueling with trail mix and granola bars, and checking our feet for hot spots. Everybody introduced themselves and indicated where they were from—Boston, Rochester, North Carolina. Ro and I were the only ones from Colorado.
“Are you through hiking?” a young woman who was studying literature in college asked us.
“Yes, we are.” “Me, too,” she said. All the “twenty-something” kids were walking all the way to Durango.
I added, “But when we get to Taylor Lake, instead of heading east and going to Durango, we’re going to turn west and hike to our hometown, Mancos. We’re going to finish on the front steps of our house.”
The young kids (even though they were in their twenties, they were kids to an old guy like me) looked up from their food at me and Ro. “You’re walking home?” “Yes.” “You’re going to finish the hike at your house?” “Yeah, on our front porch.” “That is so awesome,” the young woman from the Tar Heel state said.
“You’re really going to walk to your house?” Eli, with purple hair from Rochester asked. “Yes.” “Man, that is so amazing.”
Throughout our trip, when Ro and I told other hikers that we were walking home, we always got the same response. “Wow!” “That is so cool.” “You get to walk home!”
There seems to be a universal and natural affinity to go home. What is home to us and where is it? Is it a physical place? A spiritual state? Both? When are we home? Ronald Rolheiser writes, “More than anything else, we long for home. Our deep ache for intimacy, security, and comfort is, in the end, a longing for home, nothing more. We are forever restlessly searching for someone or something to take us home.”
Who can forget Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz? After going through so many trials and tribulations, her one wish is to go home. The good witch tells Dorothy to tap her heels together three times and say, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” She wakes up in the loving comfort of her family and friends. She is safely home. “Real love and real friendship are home,” says Rolheiser.
The wise men leave home and follow a star in order to find home. They walk into a crowded barn in Bethlehem. Barbara Brown Taylor speculates in Home by Another Way that all the wise men can see is a baby who is not afraid and whose eyes shine like the star they have been following. The parents are gracious, and the wise men take turns holding the baby. They experience a great love. They are home.
What is home?
The baby grows up and says, “Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you?” (See John 14:1-2, The Message).
“Home is a place in the heart. It is where we are comfortable physically and psychologically. Home is where we feel safe. Home is where our heart doesn’t feel out of place, compromised, violated, denigrated, trivialized, or pushed aside. Home is where we can be fully ourselves without the need to posture or to impress. Home is where we are at ease,” writes Rolheiser. “Love is home.”
I remember fondly, inching my way up Sharkstooth Pass. From the top of the familiar pass that I had climbed with family and friends so many times before, after walking for thirty-seven days and close to five hundred miles on the Colorado Trail, from the top of Sharkstooth Pass, I looked down into the Mancos Valley. The dark clouds closed in, and the sleet pelted me, but it didn’t matter. I could see home at last.
A day later, after spending my last night out at Transfer Campground, I crossed Highway 160 at the stoplight. A white car pulled over as I walked past Zuma. I had a full, mostly white beard and was close to thirty pounds lighter. Inez, a friend and member of our church was in the car. “Craig, is that you?” “Hello Inez! It’s me!”
“I wasn’t for sure; you look different. It’s good to have you back.” “Hey Craig,” her kids said.
“It’s good to be home,” I said, and my body completely relaxed.
As we journey through life, may Grace always lead us home.
Blessings and peace,