This weekend was Homecoming Weekend for the university in town. Although it meant nothing to me (besides a fun parade and getting pumpkin chai with my sister afterwards), there were many class reunions during the weekend where the alumni had returned to their Alma Mater to celebrate their years of attendance and also seeing the vision of the school continue through the current students. This year was also special as it was the coronation of the new university President.
Homecoming is coming home. Ok, so maybe college is not home…nor your high school, but when you are saying “homecoming,” it is the welcoming back notion. I have to admit though, when I was in college, my term for “coming home” literally meant calling Mom and saying, “I am coming home.” Home. My mind has been thinking about this word…I think I started when we took a little weekend road trip to Toledo.
After my mom remarried, we moved to Toledo. I was about a year and a half old or so. We moved to Colorado a few months after I turned six years old; my first memories of a “home” were from there. As we visited a few weeks ago, I realized that all my memories of Toledo were of places, such as the tunnel you walked through under the main road to get to the zoo; the Bob Evans we passed to get to our house; the house itself (I can still see the inside); the church we attended (but when we actually attended church I noted how much smaller the sanctuary was compared to my five-year old mind); MacQueens Produce Farm and a really awesome ice cream place by car lot (which I finally got the name: Jan’s.) I remember things like my classroom at school, getting red tokens for lunch when you wanted pizza, learning the alphabet, and being Mother Goose in the end of the school year play. I remember singing a Honey Tree song for church and playing in the turtle sandbox or eating orange pushups. But what I don’t place is people’s faces. I only remember them through pictures.
All that changed in Colorado. We moved in the summer, meaning I started a brand new school that Fall. The kids in my class were the peers I attended the rest of my school years with, graduating together and continuing to keep in touch here and there (thank you Facebook.) Home was no longer just things or places…it involved people from town, school and church. Home, physically, was the house…a place where I could be myself, protected from the world. In the bigger picture, Colorado was home. I still consider it home. It is my Alma Mater.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe God moved me here for a purpose…especially in the area concerning my health. I now have friends, live closer to my extended family, a “home” church I have attended since the move and many open doors for my paintings. So why doesn’t it feel like home? Time may play a part in it: we lived in Colorado for almost twenty years (seventeen to be exact). Whatever the cause, I think it fits into the season of the soul..this current road I travel, with thankfulness.
Home brings thoughts of heaven. As my body continues to decline, [yet I am still becoming all that God has planned for me in this life] there are times when I do honestly question God in aspect, “I don’t know how much more of this I can handle.” Maybe I am using thoughts of heaven as an easy way out of this worldly suffering. Heaven is joy…and I look forward to that Homecoming. There will be nothing like it in comparison. But here, in the now, I should not be praying centered around myself, but God. It is only then that this temporary home (my body) will find strength in thanksgiving, even in the suffering:
Man-centered prayers tend to ask, “How can God help me with my problems?” while God-centered prayers consider, “What is God doing in this? How can I join in God’s purposes here?” This changes not only what we pray for, but also the way we pray.
Tim Challies. “Persevere in Prayer.”