E, J and I drove across the state today for my nephew's graduation for WSU. While we were loading the car in Bellingham, J and I made a game-time decision to take Jamaica with us. She was completely beside herself with worry as we were carting our luggage out to the car, but somehow understood almost the instant my mind was changed. By the time I walked into the kitchen to get her bowl and food and a few tennis balls, she was bouncing like a tennis ball herself. The change in demeanor was striking. Stowing her away for the trip meant, however, that said trip took quite a bit longer than usual. It was a lot like traveling with a toddler. Having to stop for potty breaks, or tennis-ball-chasing breaks, or just plain, "I've been in this kennel for hours!!!" breaks (which reminds me, I don't have a political ax to grind here, but the candidate who kenneled up his dog, then lashed that dog to the roof of his vehicle for the whole trip? THAT bothers me. REALLY bothers me. Think of the wind chill up there. You can't tell me a dog likes it up there--because how could you know? You're safely in the car while he's up there. You can't even hear him if he doesn't like it. I have a really hard time with this. Just as I have a really, really hard time with those Sarah MacLaughlin commercials about those pets needing homes. They just break my heart.
OK, off my soap box. My real point is, there were many gyrations across the state as Maica tried to get in and out of that kennel with J sleeping beside her. Maica might have relished the idea of a ride in theory, but she thought she was going across town, maybe stop by the espresso stand and get a dog treat. If she was really lucky, go to a park and play in the water. NOT get stuck in a car--in a kennel in a car--for whole entire day without any place to get really comfortable. And at the end, wind up in a house completely NOT the house she was looking for.And believe me when I tell you, that's a face you don't want to see. My sister and her husband probably think we're nuts to own such a dog as this. Shoot, I'd be wondering that myself, if this was all she ever was.
She was hoping the end of the road would lead her home, which is only one place for her. And at home, she's a far different creature. Even in this strange new, post-Jackson world in which she finds herself, she feels comfortable and safe. Knows her routine. Knows she belongs. Yes, knows she belongs.
But for me, though these days I have one actual home with one real bed where all my stuff and my husband rests his weary head tonight. I've always said that I really have two homes. No matter which direction I'm driving between my home and Pullman, I always feel like I'm driving home. As we inched over the undulating rises from the more arid center of the state to the hills of the Palouse that are decked in green velvet this time of year, I always want to stick my head out a window and breathe it in fully. The dirt, the fresh, just post-rain air, the new grass on the hills--this is what home smells like in one part of my brain. It's what home is just supposed to be.
I'm here for a little over a week this trip. Next weekend a friend graduates from a different school just south of here, so Beve's driving over to retrieve me. (Maica's going home with J and E on Sunday). I'll wander the streets of my hometown for the next week, remembering stories, thinking about my family, my childhood, imagining again the varied forces God used to make me who I now am. So much came from between these hills. Before I ever had any zipcode but 99163, He had his hands on me, forming me--and I was opening asking Him to make me more like Him, to grow the seed of my faith into something strong and true, with a yield (a spiritual one) worthy of these green, green hills of home.
I feel comfortable in this place, I know who I am here, know I belong. Yes, that's it. I know I belong here among these hills. Even when the wheat on them is so thick and golden that the machines are going full tilt and making my eyes water and my chest tighten, I still know I belong. I can settle in here in my sister's house because this too is home.
But, of course, every place on earth that we call home, that we most feel ourselves is just a foretaste. It's those places--those most safe and 'our-true-selves' places that foreshadow heaven, I think. Wherever it is that you most love and want to be, wherever it is on this planet that you call home and most feel at home--it is there that you know most fully that you were made for a place MORE than that. God has made a place for us even more home to us than the truest home any of us has ever had. So if you're sitting in your safest place this morning, or standing in the fresh air of the place you call home, or merely longing for it, take that feeling and let it build and build and build for the green, green grass of HOME--His home.
Ah. Doesn't that do your heart good for a moment?
Now go live your life this day with gladness that there IS such a place waiting for you.