Going Home

Every society falls along the line between order and chaos. And we all know the names of the command centers along that line: patrol car, court, jail, prison, hospital, morgue, and mortuary.


Those who work in those command centers know that those places inevitably squeeze out one word: “home.” It is whispered or growled, laughed or sobbed; “Go on home, son.” “Can I go home now?” “Ma’am, please take your daughter home.” “Oh, Mama; Daddy just went home to be with the Lord.”


What and Where is Home?

Have you ever walked into a house, garden, maybe a hotel suite, or place of worship and felt an immediate sense of harmony, safety, and belonging? I think that is the image of our true Home inscribed on our heart. For as long as we live on earth we seek that image. And from time to time we catch a fleeting glimpse of it.


Home is that enclosure, that construction of solid, protective walls and roof, wherein we find peace and rest. As Dryden said, “Home is the sacred refuge of our life.” And “sacred” may be the key. A true home is a holy place; built, crowned, and furnished with the blessing of The One.


Although we enjoy rest within those walls, we also dwell carefully, lest the holy atmosphere – the “Heaven on earth” – depart. That’s why Joanne and I use caution about who or what – sounds, images, thoughts, attitudes, words – enter into our house. Because we see our home as an embassy of Heaven, it must reflect the spirit of the home country.


The Fragility of Civilization

A friend who spent time in prison told me that the worst part of incarceration is the prisoner’s loss of control over his or her environment. The levels of noise and light remain harsh and inescapable. So often, when I watch or listen to news, his description chills my spine and spirit. We often don’t know what a great treasure we hold until we lose it. And losing our safe place is one of the most severe losses in life.


Jay Nordlinger recently wrote, “Civilization requires constant, hard work. It does not run on auto-pilot.” I am concerned that the rootless, seething, mostly young, men and women caught so vividly in the televised conflicts do not carefully hold the great treasure that is America. And losing it would create a national prison; our safe places would vanish. Harsh light and sound would dominate.


So often, when I see people or scenes on the news (as in Las Vegas), I immediately wonder if he or she – that person right there! – has or ever knew a place called home. Did the thieves, murderers, and rapists that walk through courtrooms ever, one day in their lives, feel sheltered, needed, or loved? Do those rioting in streets, regardless of background or cause, know the peace and quiet of a safe place?


Please Go Home

A few months ago, I heard an Emergency Room doctor tell my granddaughter’s High School graduation audience, “Nothing good happens after midnight. Please go home.”


What a brilliant observation by one who lives and works on that line between order and chaos. So, why do so many spend so much time away from home at night? What sheared them off from the quiet safety of home?


One of many oddities of our time is that we only seem to value things that are somewhere else. We don’t sufficiently cherish spending time with others – spouse, children, parents, friends, relatives – who live within, or pass through, our house. We have little desire to dive into meals, crafts, projects, books, or music at home. We must, it seems, always go somewhere else in order to touch, spend, eat, drink.


One of our neighbors recently told us that she and her fiancée were beaten and knocked unconscious, in a bar the previous night. I so wanted to ask, “What was the downside of just being home?”


Scientists know that we can go as far into the microcosm as we can into the macrocosm. They are equally vast and mysterious. That may be why “going home” is one of the most beautiful phrases ever spoken or considered. Maybe we’re all called to explore the depths and layers of the incomprehensible safety and beauty of “home.”


And maybe it’s time to defy the centrifugal forces that spin us away from going home. Discovering the joy, gentleness, and quiet rest that awaits us there could be the most radical act any of us will ever attain in this life.


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Written by on Thursday, October 05, 2017

Filed Under: Home,Peace,Sanctuary


8 Responses to “Going Home”

  1. Tom Harrison says:

    Thanks Ed for your thoughtful words of hope and help to us all. Blessings,

  2. Jeff Collene says:

    Reminds me of the old hymn “Going Home,”

  3. John Sommers says:

    Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me. See on the portals He’s watching and waiting. Waiting for you and for me. Come home. Come home. You who are weary come home.

  4. Leo says:

    Maybe 20 years after my tour in Vietnam I attended a local dedication of a war memorial. During the ceremony a VFW member went up and interrupted the speaker. He did it very politely. He apologized for the interuption and then said, just in case there’s someone here that has not heard, “Welcome Home!” I doubled over like I’d been punched in the stomach. I couldn’t breathe so I didn’t notice that my eyes were weeping. It turned out that myself and one other vet present had never heard or received those two words. There was a lady in between the two of us. She was his wife and she caught us both before we fell on our faces. She held us up while those words began their work in us. Two very important words indeed. Thank you for sharing your precious insights. I’m a believer, for sure.

  5. Glen Roachelle says:

    Ed, this is so very good! “Home” is like the layers of a sweet onion. We enjoy the house where our “home” is cherished, we taste of home when family gathers; and when circumstances and covenant friends coincide by the Spirit’s leading. Then when we reach the other side and find the heart of all home life, we will see more clearly why all the other tastes of home were so sweet.

    John Henson, a man of my father’s generation, wrote an old song that has this line in the refrain: “Anywhere is home, if Christ, my Lord, is there.”

    The tapestry and tone of this is like the richest of fall colors in New England. It was just excellent! It made me wish for more to read.

  6. Gary Browning says:

    Ed, I think of those times of being lost, then finding the way to go home. It is, as you suggest, a sanctuary not only around us, but within us. Rich reading. Thank You!

  7. Wayne Moore says:

    Very good, Ed. As usual,thought provoking and enjoyable. There is no place like home! Thanks.

  8. john eames says:

    Ed, you captured something priceless to Susan & me. So many of our friends are wanting to “go out to eat.” For us the joy of inviting someone to share a meal – or even just a drink – in our kitchen or on the deck is one of lifes great pleasures.
    Sadly, I think the pervasive noise, conflicting demands on our time and myriad other distraction which surround us every day create huge barriers to experiencing home as you have described.
    I confess to just a bit of sadness at my own acquiessence to the distractions & the conflicts. You’ve encouraged me to re-think how I want to move into even the rest of this week. I will be working at home with a fresh sense of thanks for safety, quiet and even now looking forward to a glass of wine with Susan at the end of the day. Thanks Ed.

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