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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Where’s Home?

by Patty Froese

Actually, home is not a place, it’s a person. Read on!

When I was a kid, I had to go to the doctor. The doctor told me to bring along a urine sample. Well, not being exactly sure how much “sample” he needed and being somewhat of an overachiever, I drank a large quantity of water and filled a mason jar. My mother had given me the jar because she didn’t want my sample to touch anything that might hold food again in the future—a good idea, really! So when I came out of our bathroom, ready to go to the doctor’s office, with the large mason jar filled to the brim under my arm, my mother looked rather horrified. But she didn’t say anything, and we went to the doctor’s office. I felt rather proud of myself, this being my first rather grown-up doctor’s visit, and I deposited my sample on the receptionist’s counter with a solid thunk. I realized that something was wrong only when I saw another girl not far away holding a little cup rather bashfully in her lap.

Every other year I attended a new school,  and every other year I’d have to face a new class full of kids. My stomach would be in knots as I went to school, because I dreaded facing lunch alone.

I learned pretty early on that making people laugh broke the ice. The mason jar story did the trick! The story, accompanied by the right dramatic pauses and facial expressions, always brought laughter. I used it several years in a row with great effect. Then I’d drift off to a new school and try to survive my terror of new classmates all over again.

My dad’s a pastor; that’s why we moved every other year. I didn’t have a hometown. I didn’t have anywhere that felt familiar and safe. So I decided that wherever I moved or whatever school I attended, the only familiar part of the landscape I could rely on was the sky. I watched clouds. I watched stars. I refused to get attached to anything else. During a game of tag I’d hang out at home base and watch what the clouds were up to.

Home base is something different to everyone. I thought of home base as the tree you hang out beside to avoid getting all sweaty with a bunch of baseball-playing kids that you barely know.

Where’s home for you? Do you have two houses—a bedroom in each of your parent’s houses after the divorce? Do you feel safe when you go home? Do you look forward to going home? Or do you avoid it for all you’re worth?

I was blessed; I had two parents who loved me, and a brother who teased me mercilessly. My only problem was that we moved every two years. I didn’t have a hometown. To this day when people ask me where I’m from, I hesitate and can’t think of a good answer.

We all hear the analogies—this world isn’t our home, it’s just the campground. Heaven is our home. And while that might comfort us when natural disasters and national security issues arise, it doesn’t give me a whole lot of comfort in my everyday life. What about you? Frankly, this world is the only thing I know concretely, and I’ve got to live in it!

So where’s home? What if you don’t have one? What if you’ve been shuttled from one foster situation to another? What if you’ve moved around so often that you get the urge to pack every spring? What if your home never felt safe, and it was a place where you got knocked around? It’s more common than we’d like to think. What then? Where is home?

We all need a home. It’s one of our basic necessities for survival. We need a place to hole up and feel safe. We need a place to come back to after a really hard day. We need a place to wear our jammies all day when we feel sick and eat nothing but tomato soup and canned peaches.

But it isn’t actually a place. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true: home is not a place, it’s a person. It’s where you feel loved and safe.

I’ve lived in countless places across North America. After I moved out on my own, I lived in the cutest little apartment by myself.

I lived in a big house with a posse of roommates. I lived in a tiny dive of a place with a roof that leaked, a floor that slanted, and a roommate who dressed like Tank Girl and warned me about new drugs to avoid at raves (even though I’d never been to a rave in my life!). I even lived in a place that scared Tank Girl half to death after dark!

The places I’ve called home were numerous, but what was the common thread? God. “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:39).

Home is where you’re loved, and no one loves you more than God.

When your day is about as bad as it can be, you can just pick up your mason jar, hold your head high, and trot back out of the doctor’s office with as much dignity as you can muster. And when people ask where you’re going, you can say, “I’m taking my sample, and I’m going home!”

 Patty Froese writes from Alberta, Canada, where she lives with her husband, Jean. She recently published her first book, and she continues to write in every spare moment.

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