I’ve been homesick lately. Not just for my family, but for the town where I grew up. A town of about 22,000 people in southern Oklahoma was home for me, my mom, my grandpa, and my great-grandparents. Four generations of my family had lived there. My high school was my mom’s high school and my junior high was my grandpa’s school when he was a teenager. I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing someone I knew, or at least someone who knew my family. Every weekend included a high school sporting event and Sunday lunch at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It was home and will always represent the very best of what the word home means to me.
Last week I was whining about it all to my husband. “I thought you didn’t want to move back there,” he said. “I don’t,” I replied. And I don’t. I don’t want to move back “home,” I just want here to feel like my memories of home. In the middle of my pity-party, God gave me a gift. The gift of a perfect day.
Some friends of our were selling their play set. We bought it and brought it in pieces to our backyard. Last week we put out the word on Facebook that we needed help putting it together. This is one of the hard things about living so far away from family—you aren’t sure who to call for the heavy-lifting projects. We tried to bribe our friends with promises of ribs and pulled pork. It worked, and seven friends were able to come help. James and I took David to his theater class Saturday morning, and when we got home, the yard was full of friends and tools.
By lunch time, the number had more than doubled with wives and kids. The men worked, the wives chatted, and the kids ran around. It felt like home. The very best of home.
We had friends at our house for almost twelve hours on Saturday. People stayed so long we heated up lunch’s leftovers for dinner. I knew we were creating home memories for our kids. And even though they weren’t running around with cousins and coming inside for Grandma’s tea, they were creating images of what home will mean to them.
Yesterday morning at church we were still talking about how fun Saturday was. I invited one family over again and said the backyard felt empty without them. “It was one of my favorite days,” the husband said and I agreed.
Community takes work. Saturday it took hammering and lifting, most days it takes forgiving and understanding. I don’t want my ideal of home to take away from the home God has us in now. I am so thankful for His gentle reminder of the good and perfect gifts He has given us here. And for the memories my children will have of what home can be, no matter how far from “home” they are.