Hope for Home

It is best to approach a home with hopefulness, trusting that it is shaped by love. I was in the woods near my home walking softly through the undergrowth, checking out the damage from a late afternoon storm, when I spotted a ganglion of exposed oak tree roots caked in red dirt casting a shadow on the patch of ground at my feet. As I moved closer to examine the exposed tangled life support of this “elder” of the forest, a formation of brown-grey house sparrows divebombed me, frantically warning me, “Watch out!  You’re about to step on our home!”  A weave of sticks, dry grasses, and crisp brown leaves lay at my feet camouflaged by the golden heads of ragweed dipping protectively over the nest flung from the branches of the falling tree. Fascinated by this little teacup of a home, I imagined a season of care and nurture and love that shaped the family of creatures that filled a summer sky with chirps, chatter, and churrs. 

When I was young I used to comb the shelves of my second “home” – the public library – for old books. One Saturday I found a dusty book buried on a lower shelf in the young adult section entitled, Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties.  It was a book for boys written in 1914, and it gave them step-by-step instructions for building a tree house. To build a tree house that would withstand the summer blows and winter storms, a boy had to allow for the movement of tree trunks. A good tree house, as I recall, helped a boy to realize that there was another life possible for him.  I wanted that possibility, too, so I took the book to the check-out counter only to be stopped in my tracks by the disapproving glare of the librarian.  “You do know that this book is for boys?” she sniffed.  “Why would you even think of reading it?”   

“Because I want to build a treehouse in the apple orchard behind our home,” I quipped, aware even then of the countless possibilities of hope. 

At a critical point in his ministry, a winded, would-be follower of Jesus rushes up to him on the road and says, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus stares hard at him and replies, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  He knows that those who prize the security of home – four walls and a roof overhead – will not take up their crosses and follow him. I have always thought that Jesus’ warning deterred the wannabe disciple, but the evangelist Luke does not say this. We do not read about a deflated disciple slinking away because of the risks involved in following Jesus! What I’ve come to believe, instead, is that the impetuous disciple summoned the courage to take that first step, and in doing so, discovered that his or her True Home was to be found in the God who abides in the hearts of the Son of Man and us. My prayer is that one day – “soon and very soon” – all children of the Beloved Homemaker God will wake up today in homes shaped by love and therein find the hope revealed when strangers become family. 

An invitation:  Walk the rooms of your home as you listen to the hymn, “God of the Sparrow” performed by the Broadway Festival Choir, which may be accessed using this link:  https://youtu.be/DD0GbYKKQBc?si=DSCoklgpte_YlKvD 

As you enter the room where you lay your head, pray for the children whose “homes” are filled with the nightmare of nowhere.

Rev. Dr. Rindy Trouteaud, retired Presbyterian pastor, WVIS Thema curator, and blogger, Epilogue:  for those considering next chapters. To receive her weekly blog, email Rindy:  rindy@trouteaud.com