The third installment in our guest post series comes from Andrew Davis of Eastward from West. I call him Davis. Davis and I are close friends from college. We sort of had a cool kids club our senior year. Eh, not really, but we did get together with other good friends to discuss our chapel lectures a lot. I was often encouraged to go deeper when Davis would share his thoughts, and I'm very excited that he's sharing again here. Enjoy!
"Home as Family"
by Andrew Davis
I walked up to the customs counter and handed him my passport. “What was your purpose in Canada?” asked the US agent. “Just visiting friends,” I replied. “Welcome home,” the guard said. Welcome home? I'm technically in international space in an airport. I'm not home. I haven't even gotten on a plane yet. Home is twenty-five hundred miles away and that's why I'm in the airport. I'm not home and I want to be home. I felt I had been cheated by that guard. I wanted to be welcomed home by people who made home what it is and have it said to me when I was actually home.
There are a myriad of cliches that speak of home: Home is where the heart is. Home is where you make it. Home sweet home. A house is not a home. There's no place like home. But perhaps Vincent Van Gogh said what I am attempting to describe more concisely than I will be able to, “One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever come to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on the way.” Home is where passersby sit together and create not a roaring hearth, but a signal fire for all those who are family—blood relation or not.
Perhaps I should keep the fire analogy going, perhaps home is where there is always a fire—sometimes it's a small campfire, barely large enough to see by. When a loved one stops by they add their fuel to the fire—the fire grows brighter and burns hotter with each member until it becomes a purifying fire. A family that stays close purifies itself by itself—as iron sharpens iron sort of an idea.
This, of course, is home in, what I consider, the purest form. But sometimes a torch must be taken and a member must, as they often do, venture outside the home building. Their light goes with them, adding to or attempting to purify as like their family does for them. We are all sending and receiving and burning all the time. Sometimes sitting in a coffee shop talking with owner about what it means to be liberal theologically, or going running with a friend and talking about a relationship gone awry, or skyping with a colleague from Korea who asks you to write about home for her is way of letting our torches burn together. Those are ways of being at home together.
Now, I'm off to go to a concert for my favorite band, the Avett Brothers. My favorite song by that group, “Murder in the City,” speaks to home better than any other song I've heard. “If I get murdered in the city, go read the letter in my desk. Don't worry with all my belongings, but pay attention to the list. Make sure my sister knows I loved her. Make sure my mother knows the same. Always remember there was nothing worth sharing, like the love that let us share our name. Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.”
|Andrew Davis with his parents and one of his sisters|
Make sure to check out Davis's blog over at Eastward from West, and you can comment here with your own thoughts, too!