I’ve been thinking about the notion of “home” a lot recently. Maybe that’s because my husband and I are en route from Seattle, our home for most of our adult life, to Dunedin, New Zealand, where we have lived for the past eight years and where we will continue to live for a few more years. In 2011, I came to a place of peace about having two homes – Seattle and Dunedin – rather than having to try to figure out which one was really home.
My 2011 shift in thinking about home (which I wrote about in a blog post on this blog) came from reading Thomas Tweed’s book, Dwelling and Crossing. Tweed argues that we find and create homes in four arenas:
– our body
– our dwelling place (our house or apartment)
– our homeland
– the cosmos or heaven
I suspect that for most of us, one or two of these kinds of homes is quite comfortable or comforting. And I suspect that most of us feel a bit uneasy or uncomfortable about one or two of these kinds of homes.
For me, the most comfortable arena for my experience of home is the house where I live. I enjoy furnishing and decorating spaces, and I enjoy spending time in the spaces I create. I don’t have illusions of being a great interior decorator, and I’m not terribly picky about my personal space. I simply enjoy feeling and being at home. After seeing so many homeless people during our recent time in Seattle, I am deeply aware of the huge privilege of having a house to live in.
Second most comfortable for me would be my home in heaven. I love the notion that Jesus has prepared a place for us (John 14:2-4). I love knowing that one day this mortal body will be swallowed up by the immortal (I Corinthians 15:51-57).
My least comfortable home is my physical body. When I turned 13, I started turning to food for comfort, which began a pattern of overeating that has lasted for decades. It’s better, no doubt about it, but I still need to grow and change. I love knowing that God never stops helping us grow toward shalom – wellness and wholeness – in every area of life.
As we finish the first month in the new year, and as we prepare to enter into Lent, a season of reflection, on February 10, I want to invite you to consider the four arenas of home identified by Thomas Tweed: your body, your house or apartment, your homeland, and heaven. Here are some questions to reflect on:
- Which of the four kinds of home feels most comfortable or comforting to you? Spend some time thanking God for the gift of that home. In 2016, is there some way God is calling you to change your thinking about that home? Is there some way God is calling you to share that home with others in a new way?
- Which of the four kinds of home feels least comfortable to you? In what ways has God shaped you or worked in that area of your life in recent years? In what ways would you like God to change your thinking or actions related to that aspect of home this year? Write out a prayer describing the ways this kind of home feels uncomfortable to you and asking God for help. Write out your desires and dreams as a part of the prayer.