By Pamela Stricker
In this season of summer vacations, family reunions, weekend getaways — however you may be spending your time away — one thing that seems to always accompany the return to home base is that satisfied sigh of relief that echoes Dorothy’s sentiments from “The Wizard of Oz” film: “There’s no place like home.”
Vacation can be revitalizing and necessary to good soul health. However, we often exert a lot of energy preparing for that coveted time away. We work ahead on projects at home and work, cramming in more tasks than usual. Then there is packing, figuring out itineraries, arrangements for the animals, the mail, the paper. Then, once on vacation, we try to squeeze out everything we can every day for all it’s worth, knowing the vacation is going to be over way before we want it to be.
But no matter how exotic the beach, how grand the mountains or how precious the time with family and friends, there is something so comforting and stabilizing and relieving about returning home.
I suppose much of that depends on how much one cares about their home — and what home means to each of us.
For me, it’s a place of shelter, not only from the rain, but the storms that life can hurl at us. Home is refuge, solace, a place of rest… my sanctuary. It takes some caretaking for home to be that safe and sought-after place.
I have lived in homes with grass mat floors and dirt floors. My homes have been in foreign lands, other states. They have been in rural America and even the largest city in the world. My homes have included living in a converted church, an adobe house with no modern conveniences, a Quonset hut, a basement apartment and, most recently, a condo on the second floor of an old Victorian house.
But the structure has very little to do with my sense of “home.” Home, my place of belonging, my place to nest, my place to be accepted and loved. Home is more about being in the center of that place I know I am called to be and being content to be there.
It’s good to experience traveling to other places. I love to do that! But there is something very calming about returning to the rhythm of routine, of settling in to what may seem mundane in comparison. It’s good to be with the familiarity of home. It’s just good to be home.
These lines from a song written by Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist of Over the Rhine articulates it so well. The song is “Called Home.”
Just shy of Breakin’ Down
There’s a bend in the road that I have found
Take a left at loneliness
There’s a place to find forgiveness
With clouds adrift across the sky
Like heaven’s laundry hung to dry
You slowly feel it all will be revealed
Where evening shadows come to fall
On the awful and the beautiful
Every wound you feel that needs to heal
And silence yearns to hear herself
Some long lost memory rings a bell
So, enjoy your vacation! And when you come home, please pass the Salt!