Going home! As a child that meant home to Tennessee. Long before Amy Grant's song, Tennessee and Tennessee at Christmas were the promise land, the ultimate destination. At that time my grandmas,my grandpa, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my family was there. Love and smiles and acceptance were there. I belonged! Hugs and warmth awaited me there. The memories still warm my heart.
There was always the dream of returning to Tennessee. My dad's dream, my mom's hope was to return "home". Well, dad came home in a box.Dream fulfilled but not in a good way. But 20 years ago mom and my family returned to begin our "life in Tennessee". And we have never looked back. This is the place where we belong. Paul and I have moved more times than we usually mention. North Dakota, all over Michigan, Cleveland, Tennessee, 5 places in Indiana. And never did we feel so settled, such a sense of belonging. The hills embrace us. The crisp, fresh mountain air greets us. Nature sings a country lullaby to us.
But after 20 years I forget that my childhood prayers, my family's longing to go home has happened. I live out my Daddy's dream. I'm here! But sometimes I'm unaware. Sometimes I forget. And often I am totally unthankful. You can't be thankful if you forget where you have come from. I've lived in apartments, in the city, in really big cities Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis. I've lived in houses, duplexes. I've lived in tiny towns: Walton, IN, New Baltimore, MI (when it was pretty tiny). But now I live in the country on the land my dad bought with the intention to retire to. The house he had built. And I forget.
But at times like this morning I remember. And it thrills my heart. My little girl heart, full of dreams of what could be, is thrilled. I live near my cousin Helen. I live by rolling hills not flat city streets. I see nature everywhere. I saw a fox the other day and she saw me. I don't have a neighbor too close for comfort but Mrs. Philips who was my childhood neighbor for the very, very short time we once tried to live in Tennessee when I was 5 to 7. I walk on the land my Daddy, who is 30 plus years gone now walked on and labored over. I'm home! Down home! It's a wondrous thing when I think about it, when I remember that God has answered our prayers, our wishes, our longings.
You know I also long for another home. An eternal home. Where my father has gone, where my grandparents have gone A place more beautiful than Tennessee. In fact, it makes Tennessee pale in comparison. And now I have more family members there than I do even in Tennessee. And some day I will go there. And I will be thrilled and I imagine I won't forget that I have had that dream fulfilled after I've been there for a long time.
I hope you long to go there too. I pray you will join me there. It will be peaceful and beautiful and joyous. Just like Daddy kept the dream alive for my family "to move home". I want to start you thinking or remind you of going home......someday.
Bekki learned the song and told me it has a big yard and we can play football. Come on let's go! Let's go Home!