We spent the end of last week in Alabama with our family. My husband’s grandmother passed away late Tuesday night. She was 97 and had dementia. It was time. She is now home with her Savior and her husband.
And she was more than ready to be there. She had been telling us so for over a decade.
That trip makes two in two weeks and then two weeks from now, we are making the trip again to head out on vacation with family.
A lot of going home and being at home and feeling at home.
Have you ever heard of the idea of “sacred echoes?”
It happens when you hear a message over and over again from various sources. Could be through a person, a sermon, a movie, a child, any source. I always loved hearing God speak to me through secular music. I could turn just about anything into a love letter from God. (And the word you are looking for is…)
ANYWAY, these sacred echoes center around this idea of home and belonging.
My Gratitude list from Friday has been circling in my head. Like a loop. The idea of how much we need people and how we might be assuming people have enough community but, in reality, most of us are just waiting for an invitation.
I adore podcasts. My subscription tank is full and most week’s, I’m not able to find the time to listen to them all. But there are two I will listen to first. May not be the day they are released but the first chance I have, one of them is playing.
I know, right? So many “Jamie’s.”
This week, Jamie Ivey hosted a wonderful Dallas gal who started The Neighbor’s Table. I listened to her every word with my mouth almost hanging open. She set a goal to host 500 people the first year she started her project. And she did.
It was a simple idea. A friend spoke some truth of her identity to her and encouraged her to find a way to use that talent for the Kingdom.
That truth? She was a people gatherer. 500 that first year. All in her backyard around a table her dad built in his barn.
Jamie Ivey (are you sensing that I perhaps am a little too involved with this podcast?) (IT’S FINE) is also hosting an online book club this summer and the first book is The Turquoise Table. Kristen has created a community of Front Yard People. These amazing folks set up tables in their front yards and then, well, do life there. In the process, they meet their neighbors and life slows down and community is built.
Our small groups at church this summer are hosting “Driveway Dinners.” The church has pressed the pause button on Saturday night services to give people more time to spend in their neighborhoods. The idea is host small groups in your driveway and then invite neighbors to join in.
Dr. Band Geek and I spent Saturday on an impromptu date. We hit the Habitat Resale store, a local thrift store, a super organized, precious antique store, and a cluttered, over-run junk store. And we ate the most fabulous plate of pulled pork nachos with jalapenos for lunch.
I bought this. Because aqua.
In one of the stores, I saw this sign, “No Empty Chairs.”
And I almost started crying.
Pumpkin’s request for her “old” friends, plans easily made with some of them, the podcast, the book, the sign, the three trips home…it all feels like a whole lot of sacred echoes.
Or as we say in the South, a slew of them.
Even Grandmother’s story. Her mother died when she was a toddler and her great aunt and uncle adopted her. But they were older and died before she graduated high school. She ended up in the South living with a friend and attending cosmetology school. She and her husband married on a three-day weekend pass from his duties in the Army.
And up until that moment, she really didn’t have a home.
Her husband became her home. Even though he died 28 years before she did, she never took off her wedding rings.
Home and belonging.
God has something to say to me about it. He’s made that abundantly clear. I’m just not sure what that will be but what I think might be coming? Some sort of redemption of “home” for me.
As we sat talking with family last weekend, we discussed ways we stay connected and how important it is. I said, for me, it was hard being the “weird people from Texas.” I remember when my family would come into town. We saw them rarely and when they did come for a visit, the tone and feeling of our family was different. Not bad, just…off. I fully recognize we are THOSE people now.
I struggle with that.
We move about every four years, too. Hopefully, we’ll be here for a while but we have learned to never say never. So for me, belonging is something I almost never feel. I feel like we are the new people all the time.
The fact that last year was so welcoming and warm and comfortable stands as a reminder how so very much this place doesn’t feel that way just yet.
But it will.
Home and belonging.
I am anxious to hear what God has to teach me and redeem for me and provide to me. Even though right now, it mostly feels like a whole lot of jumbled messages signaling something but I’m still unsure of what.
Have you ever felt this? Like you’re swimming in “sacred echoes” and you’re not entirely certain you know what to do with them? Or even if you’re supposed to do anything at all? That gut feeling something is coming? Shifting? Transforming?
What I do know without a doubt, God can be trusted with this. He’s got work to do and I am open and ready and willing to see what He will do through this and in me and beyond my life.
I kinda feel a lot like Grandmother did. I am ready for God. Ready to go home. Ready to belong.
And I trust my Father.