There is a little four bedroom cape cod home in Oregon. It is blue and white with redwoods in the backyard and a chicken coop.
It has a fireplace made of white bricks and a blue and white country kitchen.
You can almost hear the laughter of a family on a Sunday morning when you walk in.
It smells like cinnamon.
It was the first house my husband and I put in an offer on. We walked in, and felt like home.
And I don’t live there.
There is a another little yellow Craftsmen home in Oregon too.
It’s been painted now, grey or blue,
I don’t know.
But I see it yellow.
Yellow with white wrought iron porch railing, that winds like vines. It would rust, but I would paint it with my dad, entrusted with a paint brush, a bucket and one of his old Texas Tavern tee shirts.
And we would paint.
The backyard had a garden with zucchini and strawberries.
The wood floors were almost a hundred years old and spoke to us when we walked on them.
Each persons foot made a unique music,
you could always tell who was coming down the stairs by their foots steps.
In the bathroom there was an old iron clawfoot tub, and the closets had big windows.
But I don’t live there either.
There is a small stucco home, in Phoenix Arizona with porcelain tile that is cold on your feet even in the extreme heat.
The kitchen only has room for two adults, and there are just two bedrooms to share between three kids.
There is groaning. The house is smaller than expected.
And downsizing is harder than expected.
The piano squishes us in our living room.
But the ceilings are tall.
The backyard is magnificent, but the fountain is broken, it is full of bees
And zucchini don’t grow here.
A thousand times I’ve rearranged the furniture to make it fit.
We all have to share our space. The close quarters makes us dance our lives together, a tango of space,
I need more space, your in it,
or lets enjoy the closeness.
Love grows bigger this way, they say.
It’s close to a park, that I expected to be bigger
It’s nowhere near Oregon, where I expected home to be.
And this is where I live.
And I wonder now, a lot about expectation.
Because that yellow house was the home I grew up in.
And I expected to live there forever.
Forever seems possible when you’re 6.
We never expected for Dad to die there.
But he did,
in the clawfoot tub.
The floor rang hollow as the first responders thudded and stomped, and echoed as the gurney pulled his body out.
We didn’t expect it.
And the cape cod home was infested with rats.
Our future in Oregon fizzled away
when they said the rats had taken over the ducting.
Repairs. Roofing, and ducts, and rats.
And the Sunday mornings, and Christmas mornings we imagined were gone.
And all we held was the reality of living in a small town that didn’t fit.
We moved expecting to find a church.
But we didn’t.
We moved expecting to find something.
We moved home to Arizona,
away from expectation, we thought
And yet I still expected to find a different home.
A larger home, that felt more like home.
A home that was closer, or farther or different or more the same. Bigger.
And I realized that I was buckling under the weight of my own expectations.
Life was never what I expected.
And this fluid idea of home, the never grasping it, the never finding it;
I only found the stirring and unrest of soul instead.
And I wonder about it.
I wonder about the groaning of my soul and all of the seeking of what I cannot seem to find.
A place for my soul to rest.
Why can’t I rest?
I hold on too tightly to my heart, to my expectations.
I cling to it with rigored hands; clutching, clawing.
I pray expecting God to give me the answers that I want.
The way that I want them.
Vainly I labor to build myself a home.
God I want what I want when I want it, and I expect it.
And instead of waiting in expectancy for what the Lord has said is good,
God I need a home. I need to feel at home.
As I cling to houses that are made of brick, built with weak hands.
Homes that can be destroyed so easily by death, or sickness, or disaster.
My heart clutches visions of perfect Christmas mornings.
With the tree placed just so, and the neighbors caroling, and the perfect kitchen to bake the perfect cookies.
And everyone smiles and laughs and there is no fighting or brokenness
or arguing about recipes and the dryness of the cookies and who makes what better.
And on Sunday we wake up and we eat breakfast, unrushed, pancakes and bacon and eggs,
Before we jaunt leisurely to church down the street.
But that place doesn’t exist.
What I long, for, what my heart wants,
is the feeling of home.
And God is teaching me, I am longing for heaven.
This need for deep interconnectedness,
for deep fellowship,
for family, for unbrokenness,
for the perfect home,
that can’t be destroyed or waylaid, or sold or bought, where we can celebrate in unity,
is my longing for heaven.
For a place where I can be unburdened and free.
And slowly God brings life back to my fingers.
As I release the grasp,
And wildly abandon my heart and expectations
And instead wait, in beautiful expectancy,
For an eternal home that Jesus even now is preparing.
Where there will be no more tears or pain or strife or burden.
Only joy and singing and freedom.
And as my expectations loose, so too, does the noose around my heart.
And it flies.
And one day I will be
5 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on[a] we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10