catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 4, Num 4 :: 2005.02.25 — 2005.03.10


Needing home

They’ve already been so kind, giving us display accessories and plants at the start-up of the store, helping us replace the splitting maul that split itself one chilly day, offering a ventless gas fireplace, furniture, CDs. And yet, when she asks me, “Is there anything else you need?” I answer, “No,” surprised while my mind screams, “A home to belong in! A million dollars to change the world!” But I’m afraid to ask, because I know their generosity is limitless.

Rob and I sometimes indulge in the “if-I-had-a-million-dollars” daydream. We could get out of debt, buy a building for an intentional community, and fully fund *cino, among other selfless and not-so-selfless dreams.

But thank God this daydream begins with an “if.” The clearest realization afterward is always how our financial dependency has forced us into relationship with others. Without the struggle, we might have convinced ourselves that we didn’t need anyone else to make our visions come true. We wouldn’t have moved to Three Rivers, wouldn’t have started a fair trade store, wouldn’t have connected with a wonderful community of people, and our lives are certainly richer for all of these things. There’s only one regret and it keeps growing over time: that we have no home.

We’ve certainly had places to live in the past two years that have been more than adequate for meeting our physical (and sometimes spiritual) needs. And we are confident that the future does not include homelessness, as we’ve not yet exhausted all possibilities for borrowed space. However, my emotions strain toward a place we can call “our own.” I long to gather our possessions out of storage in three different states into an infinite space, not in the sense of square footage, but in the sense of longevity. I long to plant a tree and watch it grow, to paint a wall and watch it reflect the lights of the day, to have a place “to lay my head.”

Rob reminded me the other day, as we discussed our lack of a home, of the passage in Matthew, when a Pharisee says to Jesus, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Rather than respond with amazed gratitude, as the teacher of the law probably expected, Jesus responds with harsh truth: “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” I don’t think Jesus is condemning those who know where they’re going to sleep tonight, but I think he is warning the Pharisee to be aware in the midst of his passion of the possibility that life in the service of God may bring with it a dehumanizing uncertainty. If even the Son of God goes through life on this broken earth without a “proper” home, then we should certainly expect the same. Is homelessness, then, something we should seek? I don’t think so, any more than the security of possessions is something we should seek, as it’s just as easy to make an idol out of stuff as it is to worship our own sacrificial lack of stuff.

While the “home” I dream of may never materialize in this life, I can recognize my longing for home as a symbol of my longing for the new creation, a place of eternal meaningfulness and abundance. Working toward one is working toward the other, but if I’m internalizing the word, I shouldn’t be disappointed when present attempts fail to produce the results I imagine.

Jesus felt great love for the sincere rich man before him on his knees and said, “You follow the letter of the law very well, but you’re still missing something; when you go from here, sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow me.” The wealthy man couldn’t believe his ears and went away disappointed, because he had acquired many possessions.

Peter began to say to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you!”

But Jesus knew where Peter was going with this and cut him off, saying, “Listen to me while I explain to you how things really are: there is not one person who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundred times what they left here and now—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields (and with those, persecutions)—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are considered first now will be last, and the last will be first.”

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