A young widow travels home with her two small and adorable children to spend Thanksgiving on the family pine tree farm. This is not the logline of essentially every Hallmark movie, but how I spent last week. I laugh to keep from crying that the synopsis of my life has become so cliche, but I will add to the banality of my current circumstances by saying that there really is no place like home. I loaded up two girls and two dogs and hit the road last Tuesday morning. We drove a little over ten hours from gate to gate. I have to brag on my kids though that we made it successfully with only one stop on the way and zero screen time and the only whining on our journey came from my youngest who “just wanted to listen to Spiiiiice Guuurlls.”
The thought of road tripping that distance might sound like misery to some people, but aside from a stiff back the next day, I genuinely enjoyed our drive. Even though I had never taken the route I took for the latter part of the trip, it was all familiar to me. Since making New Mexico my home, driving east has always given me that sense of belonging you can only get from the area in which you grew up. Almost eight years ago, Taylor and I made our first drive from Roswell to Fort Worth as a married couple. We had plans to join my family and some friends that weekend for dinner at one of the well known, local Mexican restaurants. The ambiance and margaritas at this particular restaurant have a higher applauded reputation than the actual meal, which is one of two options. Regardless, three generations of my family have enjoyed many celebrations and get-togethers at this restaurant and it is always pleasantly constant. As Taylor and I were crossing the state border into Texas we were talking about what we were excited about doing in Fort Worth. I’ll never forget the look he gave me when I said, “You’re going to kill me for saying this right as we leave New Mexico, but I’m really looking forward to eating some good Mexican food.”
You can’t compare apples to oranges. We tend to like what is familiar to us because it gives us that feeling of comfort that only comes with an established relationship. I relished that familiar comfort last week when the roads welcomed this Texas transplant with open arms. The highways evolved from dusty tumbleweeds to the trees I grew up seeing my whole life. Even the road kill at some point changed from coyotes and deer to armadillos, skunks and more deer. It’s such an odd thing to find comforting, but I spent countless weekends of my childhood driving very similar roads. Those small town Texas back roads that are lined with houses that are hard to distinguish between a residence or a business. I think humans naturally have a strong sense of home. Even people who don’t have fond memories of their homes will step foot back in their hometown and instantly have all kinds of memories and emotions flood their senses. The world probably wouldn’t have as many therapists if this phenomenon was not universal.
“ But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”Philippians 3:20
I have wondered a lot as an adult about the American soldiers who have served in Iraq. I have one question I would desperately like to ask these men and women. Did you feel at home? I know this seems a little strange. I imagine someone who served thousands of miles from their home and families in less than desirable living conditions didn’t feel that truly “at ease” feeling that comes from sinking into your parent’s couch after a long day or eating your grandmother’s famous cookies. Still, I want to know if this foreign land gave those veterans some sense of home that you just feel in your bones.
Writings in the Bible lead us to believe that the Garden of Eden could have been located in modern day Iraq. The geography of the world undoubtedly was changed during the great flood making it impossible to know where the garden written about in Genesis actually lies today. I have always found it interesting though that what might possibly be the location of our former utopia is on top of what is possibly the biggest concentration of one of our modern world’s most valuable resources. God always provides for his people.
It is hard to go into the holiday season while you are still grieving or fighting illness or enduring any suffering. That’s why I think as we prepare for Christmas we need to remember the greatest gift we are celebrating!! We need to take a step back from the stress of what we don’t have or can’t put under the tree for our children. Our real home, our eternal home is already full of treasure far more valuable than crude or even the sparkliest stocking stuffer. Let’s focus on the fact we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who gave us all the keys to that home with his birth, death and resurrection!!
Copyright © 2021 M.Marley, LLC