Some "talks" centered around the "moral right"... As I say that... I am reminded of something my dad would always ask, "What do you want to be when you grow up?". He would let us prattle on about what we wanted to do and then he would say, "Well, I want to be a starship captain!" And we'd laugh... Sometimes we talked politics, someday I may share with you the time - in middle school I declared, during the talk time, that I like Bill Clinton's politics... Unmovable, conservative-republican that my dad was turned shades of red I had never seen before or since...
One of the most influential talks we had frequently and sometimes to this day, was the "You always have a home here", talk.
When we were young they told us we could always come home - we'd always have a roof, always have a place at the table... When we were teens and not doing the right thing, no matter how frustrating we were... The same reassurance was given; and when I got married, they reassured me again - not so that I leave my husband but now so that I knew the reassurance included him too and our future family (whatever that looked like).
Married 18 years this month; there have been times when I have needed a place to go just to cool down. We have needed a place to collectively be fed a meal because the money was lean...
It's a place I can go when my husband is working nights so I don't have to be a single parent... It's a place where "Pizza Thursday" is a thing and a place where my husband can nap on Sunday's after church before his shift starts. My parents home is still "home". It's not huge, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms...
It contains our childhood dining room table, which for the longest time was a symbol of our broken home... It's where the biggest flights would erupt when the alcohol really kicked in; where memories of tears, tipped over chairs and doors slammed have been replaced and is now a symbol of redemption - what was once cursed now contains memories of not only holidays and special meals but also of hands held, heads bowed in prayer. New memories of family communion and readings of Matthew 26:17-30; broken bread, the Lord's Supper - redeemed indeed!
This house also has its own special glow, from the perfect shade tree out front to the window peering into the dining room past through to the living room but also to the two lone candlestick lights on the windowsill which stand on-guard nightly defying the dark. Somehow "home" is always just perfect, exactly what we need.
Recently, during a date with some of my most treasured friends (which happens to include my mom), she began to console another momma who's situation was tough... And she told her something I never knew.
She recounted the day I left home, packed my last box and moved away - first to leave the nest. She was heartbroken, not only because I was gone but also because she relied on me. I was her friend and sometimes defiant protector... It was the day she placed the first of those candlelight in the window - to remind her that somewhere I still existed and also, to symbolize for me, that there was a light on if ever I needed it. Then she said a second one joined the lone candle when my brother left the nest.
My mom, not looking at me shared these words with her friend. Speaking with her quietly, holding her hand intimately - her back turned to me... She did not know tears were sliding down my cheeks.
I never knew that those lights had a purpose. In everything my parents do, they foster a family culture where we could return home.
I want that for my kids too...
But even more... And the point to all of this...
Is that God does the same exact thing. He wants His people to know that His people always have a home with Him. From his palace with many rooms to the parable of the prodigal son.
He waits for us to need Him, to come to Him during times of desperation and joy. He waits for us to seek Him for the daily struggles and the life changing events. He speaks to us directly.
He reminds us through the light of other believers that this world is not our home.
He sent His Son to example all, shine His light for all and Shepard us Home.