I visited my old neighborhood this past Saturday and drove past the house I grew up in at 8405 Wainstead Drive in Parma, Ohio. It was a sturdy little bungalow back then. The whole neighborhood today still looks cared for and maintained. It felt good to see it with a new vinyl siding exterior, pretty blue accents, and fresh landscaping.
The emotions of sweet nostalgia started trickling in as I got out of the car and stood in the middle of the street, gazing at my old home. I looked at all the neighboring homes and caught glimpses in my head of the people I knew and grew up with. A man two doors down saw me taking pictures (and I also stood out because I was dressed to go to a wedding with heels on – BESIDES the fact that I was standing in the street) and stopped his lawn mower to walk over to me with a suspicious what-are-you-doing-taking-pictures-of-my neighbors-house look on his face. I struck up a conversation with him and explained that “I grew up in that house.” We talked for about ten minutes about all the neighbors I knew and discovered that there was even some I knew still living there. Unfortunately no one I knew was home. But it was all very friendly as that trickling nostalgia became a waterfall.
As we drove away, Ted turned down streets as I directed him and I got to see where my best friend Kathy lived before she moved away to Arizona. I recognized buildings and stores that I frequented, and we even drove past the church that Ted and I were married in back in 1979.
Wainstead Drive in Parma, Ohio, was a great place to grow up. But for as much as the nostalgic feelings wanted to draw me back to those days, I know that it would never be the same if I chose to live there now. The people are different and I am at a different stage in my life with so many experiences in my wake that have changed me through the years. At least I can gaze at the past, remember it, and feel good about it. My old house – it looked happy.
I am now living in the sixth home of my lifetime. I know that some people never move, and others have moved more than I care to hear about (just ask my Air Force brat husband!). Contrary to the above definition of ‘home’ I think we could rephrase it to read that home is “where one lives temporarily in a permanent home.” People are always moving – and home is where your family, job, and circumstances take you. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I’ll be cheesy and say it – Home is where the heart is.
Home is also that warm, cozy, happy-to-go-back-to, where I want to be, happy, just right, one and only, full of love, unbelievable place that we all desire at times. So if home is where the heart is, is your heart warm, happy, and full of love?
John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Oh my. I hope my heart is like a friendly, welcoming home. I am no good to myself, to God, or to others if my heart is bitter and unfriendly.
As I wallowed in misty eyed nostalgia about my past home and childhood years, this song came to me and had me sitting here in tears.
My heart, Your home.