A Place Called Home

Apr 1, 2012

Jennifer Lauck opens her memoir, Blackbird, with these words, “The only house I’ll every call home is the on Mary Street.” It led me to ask the inevitable question, “Where or what is home for me?” It is a question I’ve been asking myself since childhood, because as far back as I can remember I have always felt displaced.

I have spent the last few months pondering that question, so I was not surprised when it surfaced again during a conversation last week with my friend and spiritual director, Beth Booram. It unfolded quite simply. Beth and I had gone to prayer about several upcoming decisions. As I bowed in prayer, an unexpected image flew into my mind’s eye—a bright yellow-orange butterfly with black trim flying through a field, bursting with color. As we finished praying, I mentioned it to Beth.

The Wide Open Spaces of God

Beth then asked my permission to read a section from her book, The Wide Open Spaces of God: A Journey with God through the Landscapes of Life. She opens chapter two under the subtitle, “There’s no place like home,” with these words:

Last week I saw my first monarch butterflies, the cadence of late spring has awakened them from their cocoons, and they have begun to feed on the prolific milkweed throughout the fields of my geography.

Their recognizable black and orange wings were distinct against the milk greens of springtime. I noticed one and then another and then a dozen . . .They were feeding, strengthening themselves, and storing up for a journey they would make later in the summer. . . At some point, each of these monarchs will begin a fall migration . . . to a fifty-acre isolated region in the mountains of Mexico. Obeying some internal instinct, their wispy bodies will prepare for flight, following an encrypted map that leads them . . . home.

Scientists cannot explain this mystery. It’s like a small homing device.Some internal, God-given radar leads them home.

In her book, Beth points out that monarch butterflies aren’t the only species in the animal kingdom with their internal radar. Penguins, homing pigeons, and lost dogs all seem to have a natural instinct that will lead them home.

Do humans? I believe that we do. I believe there is something placed deep within us by God that propels us forward in His call on our lives, if we let it.

Finding a Place Called Home

So, where is home?The answer to that question is complicated for many people. But here are some thoughts to spark further discovery.

Home is where our soul thrives. “But each of us has unique needs and certain conditions that contribute to our well-being, conditions that comply with our disposition and constitution,” Beth explains.

Home is your “sweet spot,” that place where you live out your calling. Your calling flows from the essence of who you are–your unique temperament, strengths, life experiences, and spiritual gifts. It is what you were created for. I believe it is home in the truest sense of the word.

Home is when we are comfortable in our skin, living from a deep, abiding sense of self–the self given to us at birth by God. It’s when we feel in the “zone,” in the “flow,” or when we find ourselves in a “really good place.”

For me, finding home has been a process of incremental discovery and intentional deployment.

What about you?

Questions for Reflective Journaling

  • What conditions comply with my disposition and constitution?
  • What contributes to my well-being?
  • Where does my soul thrive?
  • Where is my God-given inner compass directing me?
  • What is my next step?

Take a few minutes to answer these questions and then walk in the freedom they bring.