IMG_5962Where do you feel most at home? And how do you know when you get there?

I’m consistently riveted by this concept. My current home is in this place with so little that is familiar or familial. When I return to United-States-home, it no longer completely feels like home, either. Even the landscapes in Little Rock vary vastly from the spreading green acreage surrounding my childhood–so different from the developing-world urban sprawl that backdrops my kids’ development.

Home has evolved into this multi-cultural, multi-textural collage of places where I feel embraced and understood (but of course not always), and with people I love (who are of course never all in the same place). I mentally halt over my words referring to “home” in an e-mail or conversation. If anything, living in Africa has cemented the rich promise that my true Home is yet to come. What, or perhaps where, in the world is home?

Strolling by an outdoor wall today, I read a painted quote that ended up diverting me over a short hedge to get a closer look. (Is that kind of like jaywalking?)

The deepest meaning of Hospitality is this: to offer each other rest on the road to our eternal home. Romano Guardini

I suppose my mind takes this not only into the effect of a home, and thoughtful homemaking, to embrace people on all sorts of peaks and gorges on the timeline of their lives. I continue to come back to the power of the “prepared place”—of a physical, sensory display of tenderness and intentionality and warmth. It serves as a taste—sometimes a literal one!—of the meticulous, deeply personal love God orchestrates toward us, and what we’re running, or at times slogging, toward.

But I also think of those people who display a “hospitality of personality”: No matter where you are, even on a filthy sidewalk next to a redolent gutter, that person offers an intimate safety and acceptance we could only associate with home (even if our own homes weren’t great models of this).

C.S. Lewis speaks of finally meeting God in this way:

the promise of glory…becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory meant good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgment, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last. (The Weight of Glory)

The painted quote here on a wall in Africa made me want to extend that part of God to someone, to offer them that kind of place, physical or otherwise, where they feel responded to, acknowledged, welcomed: where their souls can find a moment of rest on this long stretch of (rust-colored mud, or smoothly paved) path until we finally reach…

Home.

Tell me: What does home–or great hospitality–look like to you?

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