The Summer the Roof Blew Off My House

Home has always been a central theme in my life, and today
I’m honored to be sharing about home over at Jen Michel’s wonderful blog.
Join me there!

To be human is to long for home. www.annswindell.com guest posting for Jen Pollock Michel

The summer the roof blew off my house also happened to be the summer I was away, studying abroad in England during college. All of it was an enormous surprise; there was no plan for a microburst to heave the roof off in July. When I left in June there was no warning about what was coming.

That house—the one that lost its roof—has been in my family for four generations. My great-grandfather was an architect; he designed the home. My grandfather laid the bricks, my father moved in at the age of four in 1954, and I was brought home thirty years later. The maple trees, just saplings when my father moved into the house, now tower twenty feet high.

I always knew those trees as tall. I slept in the bedroom that my father slept in as a boy, ate in the same kitchen, played basketball in the same backyard. Every story that belonged to the house also belonged to my family; the people and the place, wedded.

Into the house itself, my great-grandfather cemented a reminder of the family sentiment. He set odd-colored stones in the brick fireplace, uneven and small, jutting out in unlikely places.  Their colors do not match. These stones are from his travels to the Pyramids, the Coliseum, the Acropolis. He brought them back from those places to mortar them into the hearth, a reminder that though you travel far, you always, always circle back to where you started.

We are homebodies, embodied in a home that helps us know ourselves. Generations stay, or they come back.

I heard about the roof blowing off my house when I was in Oxford. My mother called from across the Atlantic with the news…

Read the rest of the story here, at Jen’s blog!

Aching for Home

THE ACHE

This past summer, our family moved to a new city, and into a new life. And in the midst of the transitions and changes that the last year has brought our way, I have thought about the feeling, the idea, and the desire for home.

Two years ago during Holy Week, I reflected on that same thing–that ache for home that so many of us feel. And in light of Easter, and I wanted to share those thoughts with you again here in this space:

I love traveling; Michael and I love traveling together, exploring new places, and learning about the world. But when it comes down to it, I am a homebody at heart, and I love having consistency in my life.  In fact, 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, Florida, 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.

Easter is about Jesus making a way for us to be able to enter the eternal Home that we were created… Click To Tweet

My mother and I traveled to Grand Rapids for a conference, and while we were there, 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.”

Home.

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 eternal 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 desire 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 on the cross, 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 heavenly home with him, forever.

He crossed the threshold from death to life and held the door open for us, too.

Jesus crossed the threshold from death to life and held the door open for us, too. #Christianity Click To Tweet

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.