Sunday, March 31, 2013

Going Home?

Lately we've had several opportunities to "go home." Going home... it's never quite the same as you remember it.

After spending a large portion of the winter in southern parts of the United States we went back to NY where we've been for the last 3.5 weeks. I've always considered New York home. Even when we lived in Tennessee New York was home to me.

The first "home" we went to upon re-entering New York was Syracuse. Syracuse is where we spent the first almost 3 years of medical school. We lived in 3 different apartments and attended 3-ish churches in our almost 3 years there. We spent our first night back in New York at a friend's house in Syracuse after Glenn's RMED finale thing. We returned the next week for Glenn to do some presentations and to be there for Bridge Day and Match Day. We saw some people and locations that we knew. We can find our way around Syracuse just fine and find things to do but, returning there, it didn't feel like home.

We spent our first weekend and the week after the Match up near Lowville. Lowville is where Glenn did his rural rotation, where we lived for 9.5 months. It is the last place that we had a physical place to call home that was larger than our van. Lowville felt a bit more like home maybe because it is the place that we had lived most recently and maybe because we had friends there and actually lived there instead of just survived. Still... it wasn't home. I cooked but it was in a strange kitchen. We all slept in beds but they weren't our beds. We had the chance to hang out with friends but we knew that our stay there was very temporary. Our friends gave us a place to stay for a short time. It was a blessing to us because we actually had our own space but it wasn't really our space, not home.

We've also spent a weekend and this past week in Waterloo, another "home." Waterloo is the town that I grew up in. It is the place where I spent the first 18 years of my life and a total of about 3 years as an adult. The physical places that I lived in are still there: the little apartment where I lived with my parents when I was born and where we lived for 10 months with 4 little ones, the big yellow house where I lived from when I was 2 until I got married, the apartment we lived in that  I still think of as Aunt Alyce's house even though we lived there for almost 2 years, and even Grandma Hansen's house where I spent so many hours while mom was teaching. The physical places are there but different people live in them now, people that I don't know. I can't just go up to the door and walk in and even if I did it wouldn't feel like home. Part of the feeling of home is the people. The people that were "home" for me in my formative years were my parents, my brother and my grandma Hansen. None of them are in Waterloo anymore. Only one of them is at home on this earth. The rest of them are Home. We have enjoyed our time at my grandparents' house with them and it has been nice to spend time with some aunts, uncles and cousins and a couple of friends as well but Waterloo doesn't feel like "home."

A couple of weeks ago, while in Waterloo, I had the chance to go "home" to Seneca Community Church. Seneca Community Church was the church that I grew up in. It is one of the places that God used to grow me up in Him. It was great to see and visit with many people that were so influential to me in my growing up years - Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, parents and grandparents of my friends, friends of my parents. How blessed I am to have grown up surrounded by that godly group of people! I'm thankful for facebook that helps me keep connected in the months and years between visits with them. I am humbled at the many that came up to me and told me that they still pray for us and that they love following us on facebook and through my blog. We don't get out there often but I am always thrilled at the number of people I don't know that God has brought into the church in the years since I attended there and I'm praying that God will direct us to a church with people like them to love and speak truth into my kids for our time in Fort Worth. Visiting SCC was great and though it was home it really isn't any more.

Sometime this past week a friend posted to his blog inviting people to their family's annual Highland Park sunrise service/ breakfast at Mount Hope diner which prompted us to make an early morning, spur of the moment trek to Rochester this morning. Rochester is another place we have called home. We lived in Rochester for two years while Glenn worked at a hospital and we waited for acceptance to medical school. It was home. We loved our church and had great small group experiences. When we left it almost 4 years ago we kind of planned to go back for residency or at least to apply. In Kansas City this summer, after praying about it and researching programs and knowing the kind of training that we really wanted Glenn to have to prepare us for our future, we decided not to apply and, with a few tears, threw away the paperwork for U of R.

Today we went back knowing we will, most likely, never live there again. While at church we got to see a few friends and were encouraged with the hope and joy that Resurrection Sunday brings. We knew we wouldn't see many people we knew showing up unannounced and not knowing which of the 3 services at 2 campuses many of our friends would be at. In actuality, a large number of our friends from there have moved away. I consider Northridge Church, like the church I grew up in, to be a sending church training and giving lay people opportunities to serve in the church so that they can be used of God in other churches where He moves them far away for their jobs or further training. Personal friends from our two years there are in at least seven different states and two different foreign countries. I love going back and recognizing hardly anyone knowing that God is using that church to reach more people in the Rochester area for Christ and to train and challenge people in their spiritual growth just as He used it in our lives.

In a lot of ways our brief trip back to Rochester felt more like a trip down memory lane than a trip home. After church we drove past two of the three places we lived in our time there. We also took a walk around Highland Park which was our yard for much of our time in Rochester. Abigail was young when we left and doesn't remember our time in Rochester so it was fun to show her around a bit and listen to everyone's memories of our time there. We even got to get a picture of the kids in their favorite tree. It doesn't look nearly as big as it did 5 years ago.

 Well... we've visited a lot of "homes" over the past few weeks but none of them have really felt like home. I regret that we didn't get to go "home" to Houghton though I know that wouldn't feel like "home" either. Tomorrow we get to go back up to Lowville, that place that is no longer home, to move our stuff out of a storage unit there into a trailer which will move our stuff to Fort Worth, our next home, where we'll be putting everything we own into another storage unit. I'm not sure if I am ready to go to this new place to call home. I think that I am still in denial of the face that we are moving to Texas. God has called us to move on.  Our roots never have a chance to get too deep. Last week we listed to a sermon on 1 Peter and we were reminded that, as followers of Christ, we are aliens and strangers here on earth and this place should never really feel like home to us. Maybe God has us keep moving to remind us that this world is not our home and to increase our longing for heaven.

As we prepare for the next step in our adventure I want to stop and thank God for the homes that He has so faithfully provided for us over the years and the many relationships that He has brought into our lives. We entrust the location and the timing of finding the next home He has for us to steward to Him, knowing He knows best our needs and that He will provide for us in His perfect timing. He knows our needs physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially and He will provide. I'm looking forward to seeing how He's going to do it.

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