The morning after my new husband and I returned from our honeymoon, we drove across town to pick up our wedding gifts. The gifts were stored at my previous home, the place which, almost overnight, I began referring to as “my parents’ house.”
I remember that Saturday morning like it was yesterday. We pulled up the steep driveway and walked through the garage into the house. Just as we opened the door, my dad greeted us with a hug and exclaimed, “Hey Abigail! You look great!”
Immediately, my eyes filled with tears. I bit my lip and fought them back. I didn’t want my dad — let alone my husband of one week — to know that the house I no longer lived in still felt like home. I don’t know why I expected a wedding ring to trigger an automatic shift in feelings, but I did. I was caught off guard by the deluge of emotions that met me just inside the door that day.
We filled David’s truck with our wedding gifts and were preparing to head back to our house — my new home — when my dad said he needed to talk to us. We stood in the garage as he shared the news of a relative’s unexpected cancer diagnosis. At that point, the tears became irresistible and they continued for most of the day.
That one memorable day represents the importance of my parents’ house in my life. In it I have experienced some of life’s greatest joys like planning my wedding, celebrating holidays, and watching the Buckeyes beat The Team Up North. In it I have also endured deep pain and inexplicable hurt. Here I have had to process change as I’ve witnessed countless seasons, like high school and college, come and go.
Tomorrow another season will come to an end. I will pull down the steep driveway one last time, leaving in the distance a house that in so many ways still feels like home. As I showered here for the final time tonight, the tears flowed like they have so many times before. I reflected on God’s faithfulness over the years and thanked Him for the people who have made a place more significant than walls and a roof could ever be on their own.
This particular transition is especially difficult to process, and I’m not surprised. The Bible opens with God creating the world, forming man and woman, and giving them a place to live and thrive — home in the truest and fullest sense. Because of their infamous fall, Adam and Eve were banned from the Garden of Eden, and mankind has been displaced from his home ever since. Even the most special of earthly places can’t compare with the home for which we were created.
It won’t be this way forever, though. Before Jesus’ death, an unwelcome transition in His disciples’ lives, Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a place for them (John 14:1-4).
Leaving my parents’ house tomorrow won’t be easy, but the main reason this place has been so significant is because of the people with whom I’ve shared it. Thankfully, my family will always be my family, and I’m sure we’ll make many more memories in the new places to which we’ve been called.
When the rearview mirror loses sight of this house for the final time, I’ll have to remember that home isn’t somewhere in the past. Home is a future reality, a coming, eternal destination. And that Home will expose all earthly homes as the cheap imitations they are.
When my Heavenly Father greets me at the door of eternity, I won’t have to bite my lip and hold back tears. For the first time ever, I’ll know what it’s truly like to be Home.