Image Map

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Home is a Sacred Place

Scanning through the digital shelves of an online bookstore, a title caught my eye.  Actually, it was more the subtitle than anything that made me pause, and then click the "add to my cart" button.

"Stories From a Bewildered Father, Stumbling Husband, Reluctant Handyman and Prodigal Son" was the tagline on a book with the title, "Somewhere More Holy" by Tony Woodlief.  Beautifully, thoughtfully and humorously written, there were times when I was crying as he hauntingly described the final moments of his toddler daughter's death as she succumbed to brain cancer, and times when I was laughing with tears in my eyes as he recounted toddler tales from the bathroom.

In his introduction, Tony writes, "There is something sacred in us, something that draws us to a holy place.  This is, I think, the yearning that each of us feels for a home that is something more than the place where we sleep.  We all long for home, even as we fill up our days with distractions and strive for success or simply a deadening of pain we're carrying.  We may forget for a time that we are homebound creatures, but as we get older, we begin to hear the call, many of us, that we heard as children, a voice or whisper or instinct that draws us homeward." 

He goes on to explain, "when community was richer and faith was deeper, a home would be blessed and its doorsills annointed."  ...

"We used to understand that home is sacred ground, and a place of santification.  We understood that it is where the sacred and the mundane meet, which is to say, where the hand of God, touches the broken heart of man."

"Home is more than a place where we eat and sleep; it is where we learn grace, where we glimpse heaven.  It's where we find or lose God, or perhaps where he finds us if we will only be still long enough to listen."

You know that feeling you get when you've been away from home for awhile?  Even if you only left earlier that morning?  That feeling of comfort and familiarity when you walk in the front door, with your ear tuned for the little voices that instantly detect that you are home.  "Mommmeeeeee!" the littlest one squeals, with a look of complete delight and joy that you have returned ... home.  Dropping whatever he is doing, to run and wrap little arms around my thigh ... and then run back to whatever he was in the middle of.  "I like when you are home", he announces.

I've come to appreciate weekend mornings lately ... not necessarily because its a restful respite from the office (although that is true), but because of a tradition that sprang up one day and has become part of the fabric of our home and our family.  One that I think our kids will repeat with their children on weekend mornings.

Jay has become a pancake and waffle connoisseur and can whip up a batch of home-made batter in minutes.  There's a certain smell that we detect as the griddle gets hot, and then we can hear the sizzle as the batter is poured.  The kids come downstairs, the older ones with towel-dried hair, and gather around the table before the pancakes are even ready.

There have been a few occasions when I have said, "We don't have time, let's just have cereal and get out the door."  And Jay has declined saying, "It's important, we'll make the time."  And he's right.  It is important to pause and take time, while we have the time.  Because really, time is so fleeting and it seems like only yesterday when our girls were babies and toddlers, and now they are nearly in high school.

I always associate the word "sacred" with something holy.  And although I don't think anyone would point to this little tradition as a holy moment, it has become something special to our family.  Something set apart and cherished.  A tradition worth guarding and shielding so that our children understand how precious and secure our home and our family are, and forever will be. 

And then again ... isn't that the definition of holy?  The very definition of sacred?  That which is set apart, cherished, guarded and shielded.  And isn't that perhaps what God intended when he came to dwell among us?  That our homes and our families should be sacred.  That a home should be a place ... set apart.  A place of comfort and security and acceptance and love .. above all else.  And maybe, just maybe, that's exactly what we will feel when we stand in His presence someday.  Like we just came home. 


Kimberly said...

Right now I wish I could come over to your home for a cup of tea. I have been thinking on this exact subject for over a week. Wanting to be home more than I am...wanting our home to be a place of peace and joy where everyone feels respite from whatever is going on 'out there'. You have touched my heart again my friend.

ethiHOPEia said...

beautiful words...
ann on the holy experience mentioned this book recently as well. i had marked it down on a "to read" list.