That sinking feeling when you realize your time is up. No reprieve. Your bags are packed. Your ride’s at the door. Better not to look around. Better not to savor the view one last time. Better not to let your gaze linger on the cheerful kitchen, the comfy bed. You have to leave. This is not your home. You have to leave… and then it hits you (yet again) that you never really had a home. Not here on Earth, anyway.
You have a hometown.
You have a home country.
But a home?
That has remained out of your grasp and will remain out of your grasp for the rest of your days.
That’s a strange kind of thought to get used to. I’ve been trying for some time now to get used to it. My grandfather would have called such a thought “queer”, as in unnatural and unsettling. When I first thought this thought a while back, it was unsettling. It still is.
I have no home, but am I homeless? I have a mailing address. I have money. I have paid work. I have had many places to lay my head at night. I am not homeless. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.
And yet, I have no home.
Not here, anyway.
Not on this Earth.
A few weeks from now, the pleasant place that’s been my “home away from my heavenly home” for the past month will be but a fading memory to blend in with all the other fading memories of not-quite-homes that I’ve moved into and out of over the past several decades. I’m not sure what exactly makes a home a home on Earth, but I know what makes a home a home in Heaven. God has shown me, to comfort me along the way.
My home in Heaven is full of all my favorite things here on Earth – those that I have now, and those that I have lost or left behind or given away. My treasures. They’re in my home in Heaven, and they’re waiting for me.
I have no home here. I have places that I stay for shorter or longer times, but they are not my home in the real sense. They are not and can never be my forever home. Only my home in Heaven is my forever home.
And yet I am not yet in my forever home. I’m still here on Earth, facing yet another pack-up-and-move, yet another round of getting used to the high points and low points of yet another place. It’s very tiring, and sometimes I think I’m doing the same thing over and over and over again for no purpose whatsoever. And then I think: Maybe I should just build a shack in the woods or get a tent that I can set up here or there, wherever it’s most expedient. And then at least I’d have the advantage of looking at the same four walls for longer than a few weeks. I could do that. I could live in a tent, and move north or south with the sun and the seasons.
But I am no camper. And a woman living alone in the woods is inviting trouble.
So I prepare to move yet again, grateful to have the means to put a roof over my head, be it ever so humble and short-lived.
After he left Nazareth, Jesus never had a home. Like me, he moved from place to place. Some places he stayed a long time; some places he stayed a short time. But the type and duration of the roof over his head wasn’t the point; the point was his work. He went where work needed to be done, which is why he could never have a “real” home, which is why Jesus was homeless.
Jesus is described as an itinerant preacher, not a homeless preacher, and yet for all intents and purposes, Jesus was homeless.
He was the most powerful man on Earth, but he was homeless.
He calls his followers to be the same.
I used to joke about my transient lifestyle as “homelessness”, but I guess I finally have to own it.
Jesus was homeless.
And that’s the queer way it must be.