Tag: home

Where Home Is

As October gives way to November this year, my life’s odometer flips another month.

Why?

My birthday is in June, so it’s not that.  My odometer turns because both of my sons, Nathan (Oct 25) and Adam (Nov.6) have birthdays in the coming weeks.

For me, the milestones of life have never really felt important. I only “feel” older when I recognize that my boys are going to be 32 and 28 respectively.

Image result for odometer of lifeThe odometer flips for me because how is it possible to have children that old?

Because of this… I find myself especially pensive about some things. I am thinking about the fact that I am on the backside of life. I am just a few years away from retirement and I wonder if all of the effort at my place of employment was worth it.  What did I miss in life because of being too commited to my job? 

I also look back with thoughts of how often have I failed to live up to my faith. Have I walked a path that brought honor to Jesus Christ? Thoughts of failure and the times I walked far short of God’s plan for my life clearly overwhelm any memories of when I was doing what was right.

It’s more of a feeling in my soul than a sequence of clear, discrete thoughts.

I find myself more and more overcome with thoughts of “home.” Not so much about being home but rather my thoughts are more about the journey to get home. Like after a long vacation and you start to head home. For me, there has always been thehome-is-where-our-story-begins relief of getting home after those long trips. The same enthusiasm that I had on the day we pulled out of the driveway to get “there, I often feel that same enthusiasm to get home when it was time.

Life is about returning.

Returning home.

I think that was one of the main reason I wrote my book, “Footprints in a Small Town.” I was on the journey to reconnect to my childhood home and hometown. 

Now I find myself on a journey to find my way to another aspect of “home” and looking to find closure on other aspects of life.

In other words, trying to find another place that represents home. I am not talking about heaven. Heaven is the final destination. I am not ready for that. I have more things I want to accomplish before I find my way to that home. 

At this point in my life, I believe that God is asking me how I am going to live my remaining days. It is clear to me that my success is not found in my paycheck, nor is it found in a title I have at work.

My success is now more or less found in being a good man. A good husband. A good father. A good grandfather and a good servant of God.

This is where home is for me now.

How different this is from the drive to achieve that defined so much of my life as a younger man. I knew where I wanted to go and believed that I could get there only through toil and competition. Without effort and without impressive results, I would go nowhere.

Image result for successOther people would be more or less, higher or lower than me. I would look up in envy or down in condescension. And I could not rest until I had arrived. It was all on me.

The drive to be successful.

The older I get I realize that none of these things that I have accomplished are real evidence that I did it on my own.

As I reflect I see the evidence of God doing the heavy lifting. He was there preparing a way and giving me the opportunity.

God brought me here. Right where I am today.

I have no idea where life is going to lead me in the coming years. Things are changing and I need to continue to trust that God will lead me to where I need to go.

And I will only arrive there by admitting that I cannot get there on my own.

Together, we walk and, at times, stumble together back to the home we yearn for.

We are all returning to where home is.

We’re all just walking each other there.

Our path homeward is long and uneven.

We will endure detours and setbacks.

But the One who brought us here will lead us.

Home.

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It’s Not About the Wrapping

I have talked about this before. 

My wife  has a problem.  I may have to have an intervention.

ChristmastreeShe is a Christmas Junkie. 

She can’t get enough of it.  She loves everything about it.

The planning…the shopping…the decorations…the shopping…the music…the shopping…the tree…the shopping…the baking of cookies…the shopping…the stockings…the shopping…the lights…the shopping…the candles…the shopping…the movies…the shopping…the crowds…the shopping.

She will go from the extreme high of Christmas morning to a slight depression the next morning  that lasts until she gets up and takes off for all of those “After Christmas” deals and starts the process for next year’s holiday.  I mean she has to get busy because Christmas is only 365 days away.

Did I mention she loves the shopping?

Yes, Christmas…she loves it.

Everything except the wrapping.

She hates the wrapping… you would never really pick that up if you would take a tour of our Christmas warehouse of a basement.  We have more ribbons and bows than we ever could use and we have “in stock” more wrapping paper than our local Wal-Mart.  

The Christmas gift bag is her friend but she still cannot put all of the gifts in bags so she is forced to sit down and meticulously wrap gifts.  badly wrapped gift

I learned a very simple truth a long time ago.  If you look like you are trying  but do something intentionally bad the first time you usually do not get asked a second time to do it.  This is the simple truth I learned about wrapping presents.  The first time my wife asked me to help wrap presents I intentionally wrapped the box really bad and I was relieved of my duties.

I have tried to tell my wife that it isn’t about the wrapping.

There is a cute commercial running on TV right now. The Grandpa is asking his son on Skype how the baby likes the present he sent for Christmas. They show grandpa that the baby is having a ball with the box and ignoring the present. That happens every year.

Babies always play with the box, but as they mature the box is just in the way of what they want.  Sure they admire it but make it as pretty as you want and they still just want what’s inside!

All that money and effort gone in seconds, reduced to a pile of rubble. gifts

That whole  wrapping the present thing is all too often a picture of the season. We spend all that time and effort to make it look perfect and in reality it is what is on the inside of the box that makes the present special. It isn’t the wrapping paper nor the bag that makes it special.

It is the gift itself… it is the thought and purpose of the gift.  The gift is given out of love and it is an expression of that love to the person receiving the gift.  It matters not how it was wrapped or its appearance.  The important part of giving a gift is the gift itself.

The real gift of the season, the reason for the season is not the wrapped box.  As a matter of fact, I have never seen a BOX that even remotely could contain the real gift of the Christmas season.  Ultimately, the true gift of Christmas is “wrapped” up in the birth of Jesus Christ.  God’s gift to us… that led to Christ’s gift of forgiveness to us by His death on the cross of Calvary.

There is nothing wrong with Boxes, just keep in mind they are ONLY BOXES and don’t let them replace the real gift of Christmas, a real relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

So as my wife continues to wrap presents, I know that these presents that she wraps with loving care is an expression of her love for those she loves.  Her heart is in the right place and I look at her with awe and I am proud to be her husband.  She is the example of what Christmas should be for all of us. 

So for the rest of us that may have a little bit of Scrooge in us or may be too concerned about how the box looks… let’s not try to get so wrapped up with the box that we never get to the true gift of Christmas. 

Thankful For Life

It’s two weeks to Thanksgiving.  A great time to focus on God’s blessings and provision.  Many immediately think of things, but I would like to focus these two weeks on the more permanent, but often intangible stuff of life.  I don’t talk about material things much because that would mean there might be some who might read these words and think they are not blessed because they don’t have this or that.  So, let’s talk about what we can all celebrate and give thanks for.  Let’s talk about what’s really important!

Today I’m thankful for life!  I’m thankful that God has allowed me to be part of His amazing creation and witness His work around me.  I’m thankful for the life he has given me to enjoy.  I am so appreciative of what God has allowed me be a part of.  I love my life and the ones in it.  Daily there are pains and problems, headaches and backaches, heartaches and forgotten memories, but each day I get to be part of God’s amazing creation and live to see His handiwork.

It’s a great time to be alive!!!