(random thoughts for Sunday's Contemplative Service)
The American Immigration officer smiled at me as he handed me back my Passport and Green Card.
It was nice to be welcomed so warmly after so many hours travelling.
I have lived many different places in my life. Norwich. New Cross. Battersea. Nottingham. Bratislava, Birmingham. Lubbock and Houston to be precise. Each of these places I have labeled as 'Home'. Even before I moved to another country I can remember making an internal decision that the place where I was living would be called Home. Even though I just flew back from the U.K. to the place where I was born, I didn't fly 'home', as home is Houston, the Immigration Officer was correct.
This mindset didn't sit very well with my parents. They wanted me to know that even though I was moving to the U.S. 'I could always come home.'
When the house that I grew up in was sold 3 years ago, I was surprised how emotional I was. There were many memories in that house even though I hadn't lived there for many years. I walked past that house last week and it felt strange to not be able to push open the gate and walk up the driveway and in the back door.
But when the house was sold, I hadn't somehow lost 'home'.
When the airplane touched down at George Bush Intercontinental Airport I felt glad to be home even before the Immigration Officer confirmed it.
My decision to call the place I am living home was prompted by the realization that if I do that then I will spend a lot less time feeling 'homesick'. I sometimes miss things from the U.K. but I'm not really homesick, I am connected to people through the Internet, and I can get most of the products I miss. (Though if anyone finds out a place in Houston that sells Jelly Babies let me know)
When I was a child at camp we used to sing a song that went as follows:
This world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through
My treasure is laid up, way beyond the blue
The Savior beckons me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.
I struggle with this song. I do feel at home in this world, I'm not homesick for Heaven, yes I'm looking forward to being reunited with loved ones there, but my relationship with Jesus is more than just a golden ticket to enter through the pearly gates. There is a genre of Christian music that expresses the sentiment of 'When we all get to heaven it will be o.k.' That is true, but it should not make me complacent to the injustices of this world.
We pray 'on earth as it is in Heaven', I want my earthly home to be a reflection of my heavenly one.
My view of 'home' needs to expand to contain all the glories of Heaven.