This last weekend, I went to Grand Rapids to attend the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing. My mom and daughter came along with me; it was a great weekend full of seeing old friends, making new ones, and talking about writing.
This was the third weekend in a row that I was away from home—something very odd for me. Michael and I love traveling, but I am a homebody at heart, and I love having consistency in my life. Yet one of the sweetest things about traveling, for this homebody, is the longing that develops in me when I am away from home. There is a familiar ache that bubbles up, whether I am in Wisconsin, Colorado, or England—the ache for a place where I know the corners of the rooms, the ache for a place where the walls and bed and blankets are familiar, loved, home.
When we were in Grand Rapids this past weekend, my mother drove us past her childhood home, her elementary school, and her family’s church. My grandpa was a Methodist minister, and so she moved several times as a child, but it was in this city that she started going to school, and her memories of Grand Rapids are vivid. I loved seeing bits of her life through these buildings—the house where she lived, the steps she climbed on her first day of kindergarten, the steeple of the church where my grandfather preached. And although those places were not mine, I felt that old ache flutter again.
C.S. Lewis has written about this ache. In “The Weight of Glory,” he writes,
These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.
“News from a country we have never yet visited.”
Easter, which we are looking toward, is about many things. But in one sense, it is about home. It is about Jesus making a way for us to be able to enter the Home that we were created for. It is that country we keep hearing news from—that ache that bubbles up, that longing that draws us to beauty and goodness and light. The ache for wholeness, and freedom, and perfection—the ache for heaven. Jesus is the only one who could become the doorway for us to that Home. His body, broken and torn, became the doorway that allows us to enter in and walk into right relationship with God. And through the doorframe of that empty tomb–his resurrection–we get to enter into that home with him, forever. He crossed the threshold from death to life and held the door open for us, too.
Home. It is what we long for, ache for, desire. This Easter, we can remember afresh that because of the great cost Christ paid for us on the cross, and because of the great miracle of his resurrection, we have an answer to all of the aching and longing that we find in our own hearts.
We can remember that we have found our truest home—in Him.