Home, Sweet Home

The broiling air felt delicious after spending the morning in air conditioning. I sat in the shade of a grandfather oak in the backyard of a rental house. The Texas heat contained only trace amounts of humidity, so it felt as if a giant oven door tipped open. I relaxed in the Adirondack chair and studied trees in the yard and those in the vacant lot next door. I recognized them from living the first half of my life in Texas. A white wing dove whistled into the nearest tree and settled on a branch, murmuring to doves in the lot behind the fence. Nostalgia swirled around me as present as the Texas heat. 

Scenes of my dad and grandfather at the family ranch bloomed in my mind. The men walked across the dusty road in their boots and jeans, and wore straw cowboy hats, normal headwear for summer cattle work. I smelled leather and dirt and Big Bill’s cigar. My watering eyes brought me back to the present.

Seeing the hackberry and pecan trees, hearing the coo of white wing doves and smelling the dryness of the dusty air, caused me to question. Would I move back to Texas if I could, after living the second half of my life in Florida? Would I return to the place where homes and businesses flew Texas flags next to American flags, and where auto shops, banks and restaurants included Lone Star or Texas in their titles? Did this degree of Texas pride indoctrinate me enough to leave Florida? Texas “statriotism” infuses her citizens to the extent that we even sing the state song alongside our university fight songs at football games and congressmen still threaten to vote to secede.

At a distance I see Texas’ flaws, her swank and loudness, but I can overlook those. Her strong pull of identity did not evaporate out of me when I moved away. Cattle, land, and vast spaces entwined with my formation, but as I considered whether I would move back, I decided Texas is not my home. The people I love in my memories aren’t there, and it’s people, specifically my husband in Florida, that make a location home.

Driving away from Texas toward Florida, reminds me of turning my face from this world to face my heavenly home, where Jesus and many of my ancestors live. My future resides there, and the longer I linger here, the more I realize I don’t belong nor want to remain. Heaven has become my true country.

The world, I can taste and touch without effort, but my heavenly home hides. Gathering with other believers assures me that this Other state is as real as Florida. Immersing myself in scripture wakes my senses to heaven which lives in me and will one day surround me. I feel the embrace of the heat of this world, and creation intrigues me, but these lures represent a tincture of the warmth and beauty of God in His kingdom. 

As I reminisced in the backyard of the Texas rental, the heat drove me back indoors. In the same way, the emptiness of the present world and the hope of a better country drive me to my true home, despite my waffling to want to stay. My heavenly home with my Heavenly Father is where I belong. 

8 thoughts on “Home, Sweet Home”

    1. Beautifully written Suzy. You made my mind wander to my home in Hawaii long ago as you painted your Texas roots. Then you caused my heart to say amen as you reminded me of where true home is. Thank you for all you do to encourage myself and so many others.

  1. Suzy,

    Your vivid description of Texas resonates with me since I have lived here most of my life here with a few exceptions. It is like it’s own country. But, like you loving Florida because of your family there, my true home while on earth is where ever my sweetheart Tim lives. For now it is in Waco.

    Aging has the blessing of building a library of well curated memories that visit at the most opportune times. I smile when I think of family and friends that have gone on ahead to heaven, and for the Texas gulf coast, walking through the deep sand at Port A, riding the waves, diving for sand dollars, looking up at the vast horizon, and the milky way at night. I tell the grandchildren about cattle round ups, the gathering of mustang grapes in July and the family gathering to process them and make grape jelly, the peacock that visited my Nanny’s house, the changing of the seasons, calves kicking up their heals during a blue northern, riding horses, picking dewberries in May. I cherish the memory of swimming in the spring fed Nueces river at my cousins’ ranch in the hill country. I am thankful for track Coach Harris that instilled a love for running so much that I continued to run for exercise at UT Austin. I would jog around the football stadium track during band practice which felt like being in a movie similar to Chariots of Fire.

    Then I think of how glorious it will be to be in the Lord’s presence. What a glorious time! I look forward to being reunited with family and friends, getting to meet Bible heroes and making new friends. And as a bonus, I imagine that we will be able to remember without fail.

    My sweetheart, Tim, talks about heaven often and says that we will keep working alongside the Lord in His creation without the constraints that we have here, even on other planets.

    I love the part of the Lord’s prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” It is going to feel so good to actually be able to hug our family, friends and best of all, Jesus.

    1. Denise, I enjoyed reading your memories. You brought back many more for me as well. We still pick dewberries every spring and bake a cobbler from them, and, oh, the stars and Milky Way visible in the country without street lights and “city glow.” Life on earth certainly gifts us fun and special times, which become beautiful memories. I like Tim’s understanding of heaven. I too look forward to seeing our dear earth, reborn without the curse. Think how more beautiful it will be. I can’t wait to visit the places I love now after they are recreated in the future. I like also to think that the pure us then will share such joy together in heaven.

  2. As i continue to work on the final touches for my daughters wedding, my memory takes me back to North Carolina not my birth state but the place I raised my family. Then the next steps the dreams for my children as they were baptized, working with a church plant believing God for so many saved renewed souls: then graduation and the now Wedding. God is so good, he gives us much more than we can ever imagine and more than we deserve. This world gives us challenges that make us shrink but OH the GLORY of GOD and the Blessings to come in our steps to in this journey we call life and those steps to the home we call Heaven.

    1. I pray, Felicia, that past the details and anxiety of wedding preparation, you and Philip and your daughter will enjoy the day and savor celebrating together. It will be a foretaste of the wedding of the Lamb!

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