catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 3, Num 7 :: 2004.03.26 — 2004.04.08


Home on the road

A thunderous, perpetual roar woke me. I looked to the clock radio, but the digits appeared as an indistinct swirl of dim red light. Gradually it occurred to me: “This is an earthquake!”

Although at the moment I was paralyzed with fear, while packing up my things later on I was able to laugh about it. I was 19 years old and had been living in Japan for the past year teaching English. During that time, I had moved to four different apartments. Little did I know it was a harbinger of things to come.

For the next eleven years, I would move to a different residence at least once each year. I moved from Japan to northwest Georgia to Ellicott City, back to Georgia to Baltimore to San Diego, back to Baltimore to Ontario to Virginia, and back to Baltimore again. Although always poor and frequently accepting the charity of friend and stranger alike, I prided myself on the fact that I was never desperate enough to move back into my parents’ house. Alas, at the age of thirty I am penniless and now reside in the home of my youth. And I have never felt farther from home.

I recently attended the wedding of a former roommate. Once we were fellow wanderers. Now he’s settling down, building a family and a home of his own. At the wedding I saw a dozen old college buddies. All but two are married and have several children. They have homes. I couldn’t help but feel the contrast. Here I am, boarding at my parents’, feeling homeless. I have the sense of wearing clothes that are too small, or that I’ve stepped back into the darkness of the womb. I’ve long outgrown it. It feels constrictive and unnatural to say the least.

In any case, this current situation has caused me to seriously reflect on my “life plans.” I have always planned on settling down someday and establishing a home. But few of my plans have turned out in the way I expected. I know that there are precious few certainties in this life. My only comfort in the midst of continuous upheaval remains the Unshakable Kingdom (Hebrews 12:28). Wondrously and mysteriously, Christ is now building a true home for his own. Someday, we’ll all be settled and think back with a laugh.

Until then, I’ll happily pack up my things again and keep moving. It’s a big planet with a lot of places to call home, if only for a year.

Discussion topic: Seeking home

Do you feel truly at home in your current house? In your current town? What do you love about where you are now? What elements of home are lacking where you are now?

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