Thursday, May 10, 2012


Home is never behind us; but always just ahead of us in this life, if only in the very next instant of the present moment. 

In the best and truest sense, we can never go back home; and we can never leave home behind us. We must go on, to go home. For home is not merely a place. Try going back home. You will find that in some way, it's not there. 

Home is a gathering more than a place. Home is where your people are.

The prodigal left his home in the sense of abandoning his father, his brother, his friends and family. He abandoned his home; not merely his house. And his older brother seems to have left his home even while staying in his house, and never really comes to understand the difference between the two.

What we call "going back home" is an increasingly disappointing experience for us, and it's a mercy - a severe mercy to borrow a phrase from Lewis. It's not as we expect it to be. "Home" as we remember it, is much larger in our memory, for instance, than we find it when we go back to the place where we once had it. But that's not because we have grown. It's because "home" for us has taken on the qualities of being what it truly  is - more than a place. It is associated with a place. But the two cannot be confused. Home is a place of living realities, of sacred moments become precious memories that continue to drive us on in life to seek for them over and over again: that smile that greets us at the door, the embrace of belonging, the comforting nurture and care of mother, the strong presence of father, the joy of foolish revelry made secure and protected, by the walls that shield, confine and forbid the censure of the outside world.

Home is the place where we learn that we can be wrong - even shamefully wrong - and yet desperately and deeply loved. And belonging is only a thing of persons, never merely a place. Home is the company of the persons to whom you belong.  

And the persons to whom we belong are, like us, never intended to stay in one place; never confined to one location. Like us, they go on. So "home" is, for us in this world, a place that is ever on the move, on a journey, in the Way of pilgrimage.

The very thing that keeps us from feeling that we are dispossessed and alone in life, is that very company of "people on the move" - perhaps "the movement" itself.

For the very act of moving on, not away from the company, as the prodigal, but toward the company of the beloved as the returning son to the Father, this is the progress of life, seeking, going on, home.

There is a reason the Bible is full of the language of being "gathered to your people" ... "gathered to your fathers" when we pass from this life. It may well be that is its singular purpose: our book of Home. "In My Father's House..."  

Try going back to a place: It will empty your heart. Keep going on to your people. Your heart will know no bounds to the joy, even at the thought of it. In this life, home is always just before us, as we live seeking to be gathered to our people and to the people of our Father.

thoughts on "Home" by Ed Schupbach
picture of my purple unicorn bike on which I learned to ride without training wheels and pop wheelies alongside my brothers. the adventures on this bike knew no ends.


Aaron and Liz said...

Joanna, what a good reminder that we have no home on this earth. something that I am learning more and more each day as we move from place to place. My home is not here, but with the Father. Liz

Ed said...

Jo - I just read this again tonight. Please don't trash this ...

I'd like to post it on my own Facebook.