My friend Sarah moved across the country last week. She left our little neighborhood and went all the way out to Pennsylvania. The move was a difficult concept for Zuzu to understand. As we go on walks past their empty house she has a lot of questions. I answer them the best I can.
WHY DID MADELINE AND HER MOMMY GO?
Well. Madeline and her mommy went on a new adventure with Madeline's sister and daddy. Aren't they lucky? Adventures are so fun!
CAN I SAY GOODBYE TO THEM AGAIN TOMORROW?
You know, a lot of times in life we only get to say goodbye once. That is a little hard, isn't it?
WHAT IS PENCILMANIA?
And here I smile. I know she means Pennsylvania, home of the First Continental Congress and Lebanon bologna. But as my Dad always says, " Words mean things." So I say, Well, I suppose PENCILMANIA is when someone loves pencils so much they develop a manic disorder and harbor grandiose delusions concerning all things pencil related.
I just know she is picturing Madeline and her family walking through a world made of graphite trees, pencil log homes and number 2 eraser tables.
Sarah is a gift giving kind of girl. While we lived a walk away from each other she dropped off children's books, cookies and precious, precious diet coke. (The coke was caffeine free, but I don't hold it against her). My favorite gift by far (even including those cans of bubbling brown nectar) was a story she told me about a quick phone call between her and her dad.
With just a few weeks left before Christmas, Sarah hadn't decided if she was going to take her family on the trek back to her Mom and Dad's for the holiday. She knew she should go. There would be a big Christmas dinner. The week would be full of aunts, uncles and cousins. And perhaps most importantly, her parents were about to move to Texas and it would be her last Christmas with the people she loved in the place she grew up. But as the 25th got closer, the reasons to stay in their little house seemed more pressing. They had been so busy since Thanksgiving. Her parents house would be bursting with visitors. She was worried about overextending her toddler and new baby with all the festivities. There was always next year.
She called her dad and explained her concerns. He listened and understood. When she finished she said,
So Dad, what do you think? Should we come up?
And then, because he is a father and sometimes father's know exactly what to say, he said,
Sarah, is that even a question? Come home.
After she told me this story I went home and cried. It was just so true and perfect and exactly what I needed to hear.
Is that even a question? Come home.
This life can get so cloudy with the ordinary and unnecessary and soon to be forgotten. I spend days worrying about nonsense I won't think about a year from now. Too often I treat the forces that animate me, my faith and my family, as nothing more than hobbies. Something to do when I am not occupied by more important business. I forget about the grandness of my time here. That God created me for a purpose. That I am making my way to to a home that is great and everlasting.
I have become rather good at rationalizing the time I take from the things that matter and put into all the littleness, all the distractions.
I have been so busy. Can it wait? I am so tired. I can do it tomorrow, next week, next month. It is so much work. The way home seems so hard, so distant. Is it even worth it?
Sometimes in the midst of the tiredness and confusion and excuse making, I know He has heard me. That He has listened and understood. And then, because He is my Father, He knows just what to say,
Megan, is that even a question? Come Home.
So I square my shoulders and remember to smile. I am reminded I cannot be too busy for the reason I am here. That it is alright to be tired, I will rest along the way. The work is hard, but I am not asked to do it alone. And Home must not be so distant when I am within the reach of my Father's voice.
Is that even a question? Come home.
And I promise I will.