That’s the name lettered over the door of the small shop. Home At Last. It makes me laugh. Somewhat bitterly, I’m afraid.
On this day, we are fifteen-years married, and, to celebrate, we wander the streets of this Texas hill-country town, the fruit of our union miles away at Grammie and Granddad’s house.
Sitting down to eat lunch amidst a babbling brook of soft, Texas accents, we talk about home. We may have grown up in this place, but each return only emphasizes how far we’ve fled. We’ve lived away nearly as long as we lived within, and even the memory of Texas as home is fading.
Our waiter asks where we’re from, and I suddenly realize how often we’ve heard this question today. Why? How do they know? Jonathan wrinkles his forehead and says, “Well, we don’t have accents?” Maybe, I say. Then my husband, the one I often imagine to be the less observant in our partnership, states what should have been obvious: “I don’t think we look like Texans. At least not small-town, hill-country Texans.”
My husband sits across from me in skinny cords and a sweater vest, looking unsure, and I laugh because the truth is suddenly so obvious. The men who pass by our window are all dressed as if they’ve just left either a football stadium or a deer blind. They are window shopping with their wives, they are nowhere near a stadium or a deer blind, but they look utterly at home.
Where are we from? We can no longer answer that question. It did take years, but at one time I could say “Chicago” with ease. Now, each time we’re asked, Jonathan says, “We live in Florida,” but we both know that this is not the answer to “where are you from?” or even “where is your home?”
We have a house in Florida, but we only dream about home.
I like to imagine that home is somewhere with snow. The kids tell me it’s a place with room for a dog.
Others tell me that the ache for home is all there is. At least for now. At least on earth.
I don’t believe them.
Home is too good. Too necessary.
We may be souls walking the shadowlands, but these shadows are God-made and God-breathed. The place that feels like home may only be a taste of what’s in store, but it is still good.
And the best part? To find a home is to reach, not an end, but a beginning.