I went to church this Sunday (it was a tossup as my youngest daughter was sick and one of us needed to stay home) and we had Communion. As I was praying and waiting for us to take the bread together, I put my nose against my hunk (I tear off big pieces because it’s sooooo tasty, is that wrong?) and inhaled. That yeasty, sweet aroma filled not just my nose, but my whole head. It said “HOME.” The bread is made with love by someone in our church. No broken saltines or wafers fabricated in a Christian Factory somewhere in this joint.
I remember coming home after a hard day of playing in the snow. I’d be soaked through and numb from the chill. A fire would be lit and maybe the Christmas tree would be up. Dad might have a pot of chili on or Mom might be baking cookies (I had a dysfunctional family but we had our moments of domestic bliss). I would put on some dry clothes and snag some hot chocolate (the powdered stuff, not as good but as part of Home as Kraft M&C Dinners) and I would be home. The sting of snowballs leaving my face in the warmth of the hearth at the same rate that the light outside dimmed.
I remember a harrowing adventure as a Boy Scout. We awoke to find our campsite flooding. We ran to the cars that had brought our food in (we hiked but no one expected ten year olds to pack all of the food for a weekend on our backs) and some of us jumped in the back of an El Camino that my Scout Master had. The tailgate was open and we clung to its bed for dear life hoping not to slide out as it tried to navigate the steep, muddy hill leading us out, screaming in fear and exhilaration. We were never in any danger, but home never felt so good.
I have long days here at work, mostly the ones that are slow, and I come home to children screaming “Daddy!” and a wife who looks glad to have her man home. Someone to help corral the kids, wash dishes, and make her feel as special as she is. The chaos, with an undercurrent of classical music and potpourri, is home, my home, mine to help make or break.
All of this, happy or sad, is home to me, but it’s all a pale shadow. There will come a time when we’ll be part of a home were there is nothing bad to overshadow the good. There will be no divorce. There will be no natural disasters. There will be no arguments, no pain, no doubt. We’ll have a big brother who loves us and a father who has prepared everything for our arrival. There will be a tremendous welcoming dinner. People will break bread together, laughing and singing with joy at being home at last. Home after the longest, hardest run that anyone can imagine. I can’t wait for that day.