What Does “Home” Mean?

We are preparing to help my parents move from Sacramento to Portland in a couple of weeks. It has been quite a journey and will continue to be so. They are 87 and 88. They have lived in their (big) condo for over 25 years.

I’m reading a book called Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia For All That Is, by Joan Chittister and Rowan Williams. This morning, in a chapter called “Genesis,” written by Williams, I read these words: “The further back we look at our story, the more clear it becomes that we are, in one sense, never at home. Or rather, being at home is a matter not of settling down for good somewhere, in a place beyond questions or growing; it is something to do with a fundamental trust in the God who accompanies us in our travelling.”

While my parents have lived in one community for a long time, they moved a number of times over the course of their marriage, and in their growing-up years as well. My mother was a pastor’s daughter. My cousin told me once he asked my mother once where she thought she was from, and she didn’t know. At the time, I thought that was sad — but today it helps me let go a little more of my sadness for the losses they will face in this move. One thing our family knows how to do is move. When we moved when my kids were in middle and high school, I realized that both my husband and I made moves at that age, and so did my parents. I thought, “My kids know how to do this.” And they did.

So now I have to trust that my parents on some level know how to do this, despite all the challenges of moving at a great age. And it will be a gift to have them nearby, however long they may live.

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