Being in my mother's home is about as close as it gets to heaven for me. Yesterday, Noelle told me that "NaNa's house is like a palace." Which is to say she feels the same way I do. :-)
After flying two short hours from Florida, then driving an hour up from Indianapolis, our family arrived at my parents' home in Alexandria, Indiana yesterday afternoon. Yes, if you've been tracking the Facebook status updates, that means that we have been in five states, and eight different beds in a little over a week. But the travels have finally slowed, at least for the next few weeks.
All our belongings are safely stored in Bellingham, WA. We reconnected with family in Orlando Florida, for the family reunion. And now, we will stay in Alexandria with my parents for the next three weeks before returning to our new home in Bellingham at the end of the month.
It's hard to describe just how delicious this homecoming has been. It's as if my soul has been slurping up some sort of nutrition it's badly needed for a long while. I have loved living in Los Angeles the last seven years, but have missed the presence of my parents and my sister. I can't tell you how many times during these last two years while Dwayne was in grad school and I was the primary bread winner that I wished I had my mother's help. So in addition to finally being able to be physically close to mom and dad, being in their home also feels like a place to gather and recoup before the transition to our new lives in Bellingham.
I have missed these last few years, the quiet sanctuary of my parents' home. The truth is, even growing up, our house was a quiet house. It has always been so. My parents are quiet, reflective people, and I took the peacefulness that trails them like a fragrance for granted as a child and teenager.
I just believed everybody's family was this way.
At this age and stage of my life, I see the markings and traits that characterize my parents and the life they've built together. And I see it as an entity which has certainly shaped me but exists outside of my own being as a person. In other words, the home I am building with Dwayne and Noelle is different, certainly influenced by, but different than my parents.
And I think this is why, when I stepped into the cool, quiet space of my mother's home yesterday, the ceiling fans turning lazily above, the lines of each room so clean, and simple, I felt that insane, yet quiet joy of permission bubbling up: permission to be, permission to let go, permission to relax, permission to not be responsible, permission to help, permission to embrace, permission to replenish, permission to go, permission to stay, permission to play, permission to cook, permission to nest, permission to let someone else watch my daughter for a while. :-)
My parent's house is beautiful and they have arrived at a season of their lives when they can afford a beautiful house, but even before this sanctuary on the skirt of Alexandria, when we lived in a small, one-story house in North Marion, and when we lived in rented homes on the mission field with borrowed hand-me-downs, my parents' homes have always been a safe place for me.
And I believe this was because their sanctuary had very little to do with the buildings and structures we've lived in. It's mostly had to do with them, their own beings.
I remember once, while we were living in England, I was about eleven or twelve-years-old, and my mother sent Annie and I off to a Christian girl's camp out in the English country side somewhere. It was in a beautiful old stone mansion with large ivy covered sides, and rolling views from the windows.
When the week was over, mom and dad drove through the gate and up the gravel driveway to pick us up. Dad helped us get our suitcases in the car, and Annie and I lept into the back seat.
As we pulled off, and sunk down into each other's presence, I looked out the window at the passing fields, and low stone-walls, and sighed. "It's so good to be home!"
Dad laughed and glanced at me in the rear view mirror, "But we're not home, we're in the car."