The spot we call home says so much about who we are and where we are in life, whether we’re downsizing, upscaling, or moving to a completely different part of the country. A new house always marks a new chapter. And an old house holds our history in its walls.
Grandme’s house, where my parents and I lived till I was probably 12 or so, had no insulation, no central air, no shower (just a big tub that I think my Uncle Ferrell installed when he plumbed the house with Army pay the year he came home from World War II ), and the world’s tiniest kitchen, where my mother used to cook for an extended family of about 40 on holidays. For years, I listened to my parents dream about the new house they would build one day. It would be airtight and solid. No more bare feet on icy floors in the wintertime.
Finally, in the early 70s, they pulled it off, and we moved from a plank house with a tin roof into a brick ranch house where the rooms got warm with the twist of a knob on the wall. No more pilot lights and gas space heaters.
We were so excited about our new chapter. And yet . . . part of us never stopped missing what we came to call The Old House. It held so much of us that we could never let it go completely. It became a storage facility for the whole family, safeguarding things we no longer used but didn’t want to part with.
When I was a college student, home for a weekend visit from Auburn, I’d often walk over to The Old House and sit on the front steps. I guess I needed to revisit the front-porch view of my childhood. I could sit there, all by myself, and hear my aunts and uncles laughing and talking from the glider (which never did glide) or see my childhood self, playing in a cotton wagon with my cousins or standing in the front yard with my sister-friend Sarah, both of us doing that hey-mister-blow-your-horn arm pump when 18-wheelers would pass by or waving at caravans of National Guardsmen who used to travel Highway 25.
Home is about so much more than an open floor plan and central air.
One of my favorite Scripture passages has always been John 14: 1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
I think it’s “where I am, there ye may be also” that I love best. Communion. Reunion. That’s what home is about.