Sunday, November 18, 2012

here and home

i’m not sure what they’re still doing here.  it’s clearly time to move on. time to head out. by all means, time to fly south.  we’ve had our first snowfall (sort of) and several nights now with temperatures in the teens.  we’ve had flakes.  we’ve had frost.  we’ve had some really, really freezing days (at least in my southern opinion).  clearly, these canadian geese are confused.  

they should have left by now.  

but every day this week, they’ve stopped by in our backyard. when they showed up the third day, i ran down with my camera, snapping pictures and yelling, “go on south, you crazy, old birds.”  crazy, old birds or crazy, old woman?  i am pretty sure any neighbor watching me yell and run and snap pictures, would have had his own opinion that morning.

it’s not the way it’s supposed to be though.
they don’t belong here. at least not now.  not for these next many months.  
but still, they sit.  and swim.  and waddle around making a mess along the lakeshore. and i watch them from my window, high on the hill, and think, “what gives, you silly geese? what in the world are you waiting for”

but truly, i get it.  i wonder sometimes what in the world we are still doing here.  in this north country, with cold winter on its way.  the temperatures drop and the reality sets in:  we’ve moved.  we’ve had our little northern adventure and we are.  sitting.  not swimming exactly.  but waddling around making our messes. our own gaggle of geese.  and a part of me thinks perhaps these canadian birds are kind of hanging around,  knowing there’s another who lives high on this hill.  another strange bird, who, on occasion, wants to fly south herself.  at least some days she does.  

we’ve all had those "somedays" -- that moment when we just want to head home, to return to what's normal and well known. my oldest daughter, did exactly that two weeks ago.  she flew back to atlanta for a church retreat and a couple of days with her dearest friends.  it was a wonderful weekend.  i have to admit though, i was a little worried she might not get back on that plane returning north to minnesota at the end of her weekend. but she did.   not without some confusion on her own part though.  just before boarding, she tweeted  (the bird theme continues) on twitter, “heading home.  but really, where is home?”  kind of philosophical for a 16 year old, wouldn’t  you say?  

but it is a question we’ve all asked ourselves with this move.  

where is home?

north. south. east. west.  

somedays we seem to be moving in all directions. literally.  figuratively. we’re torn.

when emily arrived back in minnesota that sunday night after her weekend in atlanta, i told her i had seen her twitter post.  she immediately jumped in defensively and said, “i know what you’re going to say, mom.”  and she was right.  i went on to remind her, “home is where our family is....home is where the heart is.”  and right now, we are here and this is home.  we might feel a little bit like those confused geese hanging out a tad too long. maybe we are strangely in need of some crazy, old woman to come running down the hill at us too. a woman yelling loudly.  shaking our shoulders.  getting our attention. pointing us in the right direction.  but, it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve landed. we are here.  and this is what God has given us, at least for now. how sad to call it anything else, but home.

i’ve always known, it will be what we make it.  i haven’t done a perfect job creating this new nest for my family.  Lord knows, i’ve struggled.  it's obvious to anyone watching right now, this hasn’t been easy.  i had really good intentions all along.  the first week in this house i hung pictures and put out our things.  i painted a wall and arranged bedrooms and lit candles.  i did everything a woman could do to knit together her nest.  at the end of that first week, while sitting on the front steps of the porch,  i happened to  look up and notice a nest, stuffed bird-like into the corner of gutter and eaves.  empty, but telling.  i kind of rolled my eyes at God.  oh Lord, you just won’t leave me alone, will you?  even in that first week, He was reminding me to prepare this place and help my family settle in ... to help us all learn to call it home.  even now in november, the nest is still there.  we’ve peeked in from time to time, just to be sure.  it remains empty, but continues to tell.  continues to remind.  continues to assure -- this is home.  

                               “If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this 
world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that 
I was made for another world”  c.s. lewis

and yet even in our earthly confusion between the north and the south,  we know there’s another stopping place.  a place where we really belong.  we get that even now, in the middle of this very temporal earth.  heaven waits.  and heaven, ultimately, is home.  our true home. i’m not at all in any rush, but i have to tell you, i am certain it will be the place where i won’t have to wonder.   you may not have moved to minnesota, but surely you too, have felt exactly that.  at some point or another, you’ve told yourself, i don’t belong here...or there’s something more...or, i don’t quite fit in.  you, too,  have felt like a foreigner.  even if we are stable and content and completely sane, we still have those feelings of this isn’t forever.  this isn’t final.  i know God has put in me the desire for something beyond where i am.  for those of us that love Him, He has even promised that He goes, "to prepare a place..." (john 14:2).

the truth is, we don't know when God will choose to call us home.  just in these past couple of weeks, two different families we knew back in atlanta have unexpectedly had to say good-bye to their young daughters.  these girls in the prime of their youth, both right around the age of 20.  one with a chronic illness and one with a contracted illness, but, both, taking an unexpected  turn for the worse.  such heartbreak for these two families from our church and community. such incredible loss.  and though i cannot begin to imagine the grief, these girls are, without doubt, finally home.

i guess sometimes in our human-ness,  we can be an awful lot like silly geese with little direction and a strange sense of time.  thankfully, we are not left to waddle around on our own.  thankfully, we are not ultimately in control.  God has a plan. He has a purpose.  and, what's more, He has promised a place for us.  He knows where we are and He knows the time when we'll leave. His timing is sure and certain and always, always perfect.  and oh how He wants us to trust Him in our present and trust Him with our future.  

wherever we call home, we first, are called His.  

we are His here (wherever "here" may be)... 

and we will be His, when He someday, calls us home to heaven.

 "but our citizenship is in heaven. and we eagerly 
await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." 
 ~ philippians 3:20


elisa said...

Right there with ya sister- only we moved south from the north. I haven't done my best to make this "home" and I still talk about going back "home". I don't know....Moving is just so hard. Especially with kids. My kids want to move home pretty bad. And quite honestly, a big part of me does too.

Monique said...

Your blog is like a devotional. I love it. Thank you. I am so sad and confused with current events and politics. I am often directed right to the scripture you have written. Thanks again for the reminder!

Paula said...

Further north than you in Canada and the geese are still waddling about and in "practise flight mode", rather than getting on with it and heading south. They always seem to get it right though...they know! One day we'll wake up and discover they are no longer here...their practise flight was the real thing and suddenly there will be a peaceful hush as winter truly settles in. Nature...what a remarkable thing! Love your writing and your insight.

jodymcnatt said...

loved your words paula: "a peaceful hush as winter truly settles in..." i am ready. not sure about the winter, but definitely ready for a peaceful hush. i type this with two boys wrestling in the next room and the little girl singing at the top of her lungs in the kitchen...

Aus said...

Good morning Jody and all - I so look forward to your updates! Home - that's a tough one - and an easy one all at the same time Jody -

Home is where you are - right now - at any point in time...

And the sooner that we realize that - well - the sooner that the "peace" will happen.

If we give up the struggle, the fight, the desire for the past or the future and simply live in the moment and place where we are...the right here and right now...then we can know the "hush as winter truly settles in"!

hugs - so love your thoughts and your family!

aus and co.

Rebekah said...

"This World is not My Home, I'm Just a Passing Through" is a beautiful old song that was brought to mind when I read your description of your Minnesota temporary dwelling place. Thank you for reminding me that our time here is short and our heavenly home is forever!! I needed this so much!!

Holly said...

Love your writing Jody. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!! Holly