In Virginia every spring, there’s a big event called Garden Week. During these seven days, in various pockets of the state, local garden committees prepare for this annual extravaganza. It includes tours of a few private homes with wildly creative flower arrangements by Garden Club members scattered about in most rooms. Outside, there are gardens to visit which are expertly manicured and bursting with blooms of every conceivable type.

We recently attended one such occasion in our area where three riverfront homes were made available for viewing. These were homes currently lived in, and filled with the family’s furnishings and art, etc., so walking through always felt intrusive, if not invasive. Beyond that fact, though, none of the three felt like they could be ‘home’ to me. Of course, I recognize there are widely-varying style preferences, and we were treated to some clearly stated decorating styles. One home, in particular, stands out above the rest. This homeowner subscribes to the idea that ‘more is better’ – maybe you could say, ‘exceedingly more is the satisfying goal.’ Every room was spilling over with bright colors – bright purple, fuchsia, lime green, deep burgundy – loud patterned wallpaper (including on the ceiling), multi-colored and patterned, painted wood floors, plus a dizzying mixture of furniture and artwork. ‘Kaleidoscopic’ perhaps best tells the story. My ‘less is more’ preference felt like it had been kidnapped and strapped on a rollercoaster. (I’ve since recovered, with just the occasional tic remaining).

I relate this because we all need certain things, a certain atmosphere, to feel at home. When we move to a new place, most of us are eager to ‘put our stamp on it.’ Some call it ‘nesting.’ And we do this, knowing this is not really our forever home, but a strongly felt need for now.

We all long to feel ‘at home,’ and according to Frederick Buechner, the home we long for, the only one that will feel like we’ve arrived and can truly rest, is heaven, where Jesus is, where Jesus is continually inviting us. This longing, though, is evidenced in the many ways the world seeks its fulfillment. Addictions and destructive behaviors are among the top, along with spiritual forays into all manner of exotic iterations.

For Jesus’ disciples (who are our prototypes) their longing was fulfilled in Jesus; I reckon, mostly without their recognizing it. His presence, when they weren’t resisting it, introduced a soul peace they’d never experienced. While with him, they felt alive, strong, confident. When he slept in their boat during a storm, they felt they were going to drown. They were weak and afraid. When Jesus was awakened by them in their panic, the storm, inside and outside, subsided, leaving them blushing at their fragility. I know that feeling well.  PD

‘I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection is only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me. He will never slumber nor sleep . .  .’ Psalm 121:1-4a TPT.

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