Home (born here, not from here)

DSCN5121I am a British Columbian at heart, a Vancouver Islander in my bones.

To be fair, my Ontario roots go just as deep – generations of my people on both sides of my family were born on this Great Canadian Shield scraped level by ancient glaciers, fertile with farms and highways and the dreams of new immigrants. I was born in Toronto, but I grew up in Victoria, and perhaps my return to this city should have felt more like a homecoming.DSCN4901

My Grandma drove me around her town the summer before I started university and told my stories from my Dad’s growing up years – the places they lived and the schools he attended, and I walked up a stranger’s side yard to see a black cross emblazoned in concrete that marked the death of a pet bird. The people who live there now don’t know what that cross means, but I do. And a few months later, my Great Uncle drove me around his hometown and showed me the river my Grandpa used to fish, and the old post office that was a corner store for a few years, and we bought cheese curds at Reid’s Dairy because Grandpa always missed squeaky cheese after he moved out West with my Prairie-born Grandma. I have a rich heritage with deep roots in the earth, but my heart is hungry for a changing tide, for the smell of salt and moss and cherry blossoms, and smoke on the shore rising up to bright stars.Goldstream Mist

One of my favourite memories growing up is getting lost with my Dad in the woods and trespassing our way to a main road where there would be cell service and my Mom could come get us, because the beach way we’d walked on our search for this geocache would be too long and it was getting dark. I remember the exhaustion in my legs and the pit in my stomach, the particularly clean, hollow feeling of hunger that comes with gulping fresh air and working hard, and the exhilaration that we’d made it, although I never doubted that somehow we would get home.

Home.~IMG_0372This in-between feeling my heart carries helps me imagine how my heart might feel after I stumble through this whole life and finally arrive, panting, at the main road that waits on the far side of death. Except I won’t need to call anyone because Jesus will already be waiting for me in a mini-van, engine running, to take me home.

There are days my bone-weariness, my hunger for home, is much less than romantic. Hours trudge by with no obvious destination in sight. A gray hair grows almost detectably longer while I sit on facebook, then tear myself away to wash some of the dishes, then think of the list of goals I’m not chasing today, maybe tomorrow.

There are days I almost think I’d trade heavenly home for an earthly transplant to Victoria BC, even though that’s crazy talk. I have come to realize that every home I make on this planet will be tinged with someone’s absence, some spanning distance to make my heart ache. It is a reality to knock the wind out of dreams, but it is a promise for me too, a reminder that I have been set free from the futility of creating my own destiny; it’s not my job to build something perfect in this broken world.

Matt has been preaching about Jesus’ bodily resurrection this Easter season, and I have been reading NT Wright’s Surprised By Hope, which explores what Christianity has to say about resurrection and heaven. It’s refreshing because it’s emphasizing over and over that God’s redemption is for all of creation. Its not an escape plan but a rebirth plan, and the final product will not be an airy fairy dreamscape, but a physical landscape unhindered by sin.

This in-between feeling my heart carries helps me remember that I will go home one day, and all the people and places I love will be accessible from there, and I don’t know how it works or whether string theory has anything to do with it, but I’m so excited for that homecoming, that marriage of heaven and earth. And knowing that’s what’s waiting, that’s what creation is waiting for, groaning and creaking for with every dawn and every new tide, breathes new life into the journey when the trees all look the same and when the slope is steep and when dusk is falling and when I feel so far from home.

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