At the funeral for Roger's Uncle Ross a few weeks ago someone sang the old funeral favorite "Goin' Home," and did a fine job of it, but it made be think about the difference between going home and coming home. It depends on the point of view I suppose. Going is a journey, but coming is the arrival.
When we started looking for a home in Utah Valley, our realtor said, "I'll show you the houses and the Lord will put you where he wants you to be." In that sense, we have just come home. Our new house and the neighborhood in Provo is a little ordinary in terms of similar dwellings and yards, but a lot extraordinary in terms of people. These are deep-down decent people with generous hearts who strive to do good and be good. That's what I want to be when I grow up, so I like being a part of them.
But we like our ordinary house, and lack of stairs is just one of its compelling attractions. It's small enough for two people to take care of, and big enough to accommodate visitors. It was practically the definition of "move-in ready." We had to buy furniture to replace the old stuff that had outlived its usefulness, and we had to replace some 12-year-old carpet and a toilet. We will also replace one window treatment. But we didn't have to paint one wall. We didn't have to buy new drapes. We won't have to landscape anything. All the tchotchkes fit, and I've even found some new ones to keep the old ones company. My tiny art collection is on the walls, like old friends bringing happy memories. One of our Richfield friends said, when she visited us in Provo, "This is YOUR house. This is where you belong."
With not a little guilt, I admit that I already love this house more than I loved the house where I lived for 33 years in Richfield, where I raised my children and wrote my plays and books and got my first gray hair, where I celebrate anniversaries with my husband and greeted a new century. I loved all the shade trees around it, but not the stairs inside it. The house hasn't sold yet, but it will, to some energetic family whose children will add life to the neighborhood, and I won't feel sad. Moving on is what life is all about because there is only one place where we should feel truly at home, and that is with our heavenly parents.
Going and coming are always accompanied with a sigh. Whether we're leaving one place to journey to another, or arriving at a long-anticipated destination, there are tender mercies from above that we must acknowledge, as if we've just been given a little gift of approval, like a pat on the shoulder or a wink or a smile, to let us know we're in the right place at the right time ready for another task that will help us grow and stretch to become what we were meant to be. Going and coming make life rich and teach us to depart from and arrive at the temporary destinations on this serendipitous journey.