Written by Chris Newman
Monday, 14 January 2013 22:36
I'm going to start things off on a literary note, quoting from Thomas Wolfe's novel, You Can't Go Home Again. "You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory." While I haven't actually read this novel, this is a quote that I've been familiar with for awhile. I never really understood it, and as such I never really put much stock into it. You can always go home, right? After all, "Home is where the heart is," right? "Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in,"... right?
I've been discovering recently that this isn't necessarily always true, and it's put that quote into an entirely new light. Recently we all got to take a break from our ministry work to go home and be with our families for Christmas. However, as much as I loved getting to spend time with my family, I started realizing that being there didn't feel all that much like
I was "home." To clarify, I'm not saying in the least that I didn't love spending time with my family and friends in my "home area", because I absolutely did. I love everyone there and was extremely happy to see all of them. What I'm trying to get at is that my perspective on the idea of "home" has changed, at least somewhat.
I guess the best way to get about describing the change that's been going on is to say that being involved in ministry full-time has forced me into a much more upward and outward-focused perspective than the one I had previously. I've been made intensely more aware of the work God is doing in me and around me, and as such, I've often found myself thinking about the life that's coming after this one. I think Paul said it best in his letter to the Philippians, "For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires."
I'm feeling that calling to my true home, more so than I ever have before. However, I'm also much more aware of the need to remain where I am to continue doing the work that I'm called to. So while going home may not feel as much like home as it once did, I know that it's where I need to be right now. There are people there who love me unconditionally, and there is still plenty of work to be done.