Home is all things familiar. There is a level of comfort that comes simply because of that familiarity. Still, there are things that ought to change; things that need to change. I know that I have been way too comfortable with some very negative patterns in the past.
After more than seven months, our family has finally moved back home. Most of our possessions have made it back with us. The remainder, we are told, will be delivered before the first week of September. A few things have been damaged or broken along the way. I guess that's bound to happen in any full-scale move. It's just one more set of things we have to file for and follow-up on. That list will have to get shorter eventually, won't it? I wonder.
It is absolutely wonderful to be back where we belong, especially with new carpeting, paint, upholstery, and the few improvements we were able to make. We're grateful for how things are turning out. But there are still some issues we need to resolve, like broken outdoor faucets, a garbage disposal that is grinding complaints, and replacing tiles and part of a subfloor in a bathroom. Then there was the moving itself. Moving is a ton of work. We haven't been up to any of it. Weren't we just supposed to walk into a fully prepared and remodeled house like they do on HGTV?
The Israelites who left Egypt probably mistook the same kinds of expectations for hopes. When they finally crossed the Jordan and moved into the Promised Land, I imagine they all thought that God's gift to them was essentially a lifetime vacation at the all-inclusive Milk and Honey Resort. Instead, they had to fight to take hold of God's Promise. After 40 years of wandering, they discovered that getting there was only the beginning of making it theirs.
I used to say that home is where your stuff is. That isn't true. First, it is entirely possible to have a home without much "stuff." Second, it is also possible not to have a home even when you are surrounded by your possessions. We've successfully fought through much of what I'm calling the "boxer rebellion," that is, unpacking the countless boxes full of everything that fills a house, then collapsing the boxes, and carrying them out to the curb in batches on recycling weeks. We've started rehanging things on the walls, mounting curtain rods, and finding new places for old things. We figure it will take until mid-September or so to get through the last of it. I suspect we'll be unpacking the experience of the last eight months for much longer than that.
Home is all things familiar. There is a level of comfort that comes simply because of that familiarity. Still, there are things that ought to change; things that need to change. I know that I have been way too comfortable with some very negative patterns in the past. I'd like to avoid settling back into those things now. I want to be as new and as renewed as our house is. I just wish it was as easy as throwing something into a dumpster, moving a wall, or opening a can of paint.
God is the great modeler and remodeler. He creates all of us in his image and calls each one of us to his likeness. His mercies are new every morning. The greatest mercy, I think, is that he promises to make of us what we were always intended to be. I know that I'm not there yet, but that progress is possible. Perfection? That's for the next home, the eternal one where all things become what they truly are; where the gulf between ourselves and our best selves is bridged by the Father whose house it is.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.