Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back Home?

I'm sitting alone in the lobby of the hotel. Martha and I flew across country yesterday, back to Chicago to celebrate the graduation of our son Luke from North Park Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. It's a cool, blowing, grey day here with threats of rain all day.
When we picked up our rental car, the man at the desk, Lynn asked if we'd been to Chicago before. I told him I was born here. My grandparents and uncle and aunt lived here. My wife and I lived here for the first years of our marriage. Our eldest son was born here. Luke went to school here for undergraduate and graduate school. Our denominational headquarters is here, so I've traveled here continually over my years as a pastor.
But then we moved on to Lafayette, Indiana for five and a half wonderful years and the births of Luke and Elizabeth. Then we moved to Muskegon, Michigan for seven and a half years where we bought our first home, lived along Lake Michigan and came into our own as a young pastor and family. Then we moved to Minneapolis for thirteen and a half years. That was a return to the metropolitan area in which I grew up, familiar geography, sociology and theology. It was the place where our daughter was saved from cancer, where I was saved from a head-on car crash, where we were saved from a house fire. It was where my parents retired, where our daughter and son-in-law still live and where my brother and his wife live.
But now we live in Santa Barbara, on that beautiful shelf of land facing south, where things bloom and grow all year, where I can ocean swim all year, where ties only work on Sunday mornings and everything is pretty casual. It's where we live in a parsonage again after "owning" homes for twenty years. And it's where I curiously fit and feel home.
The word? Resident Alien keeps cropping up in my mind. As a servant of God, I'm called to be mobile, travel lightly, love all people in all places, be ready to move, be ready to stay put. Hold all things lightly in my hand and speak truth lovingly to those around me.
So, Chicago was home, but no longer. But it's really fun to visit!


At 12:53 PM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

I'm reminded that the big reason the Catholic church didn't want married preachers was because they wanted to be able to easily move them without the fuss of family and home (and likely the reason they keep the practice up today).

I mirror your sentiments now living on the California coast. I feel I arrived somewhere I'm unlikely to want to leave. I feel a hint at what those Oakies must have felt packing up and moving to the land of milk and honey.

The former pastor of MCC told me one day "it's easy to know when to come to Monticeto, it's much harder to know when your called to leave". Do you think the supremely nice surroundings could be insulating? perhaps softening life and making it tough to leave?

I don't intend to live anywhere i need to deice my car locks or spread salt on my steps again. I may again make home in a cooler climate, but no more engine block heaters for me!


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