(I scribbled this out in the margin of Sunday night…things my heart was telling me. It’s just now that I’ve been able to post it here. Tomorrow begins the cross-state move.) The bottom line is, I’m a military brat.
I’ve never lived anywhere long enough to call it home. I can tell you where I was born. I can tell you the high points and the low points and the in-between points. I know my daddy’s identification number better than I know my own.
My ears still strain to hear the bugle call at sunset- it calls Retreat. It’s not surrender, by any means. It just sets the watch. It’s time to rest. Return home. You turn in place, face the flag if you can find one. Give attention. Remember those who turned Home before us and the sacrifices they made.
Even after I left the military life, married a country boy, I would move four times in ten years. I have roots nowhere and everywhere.
And now, here I am. I’m moving home.
It seems strange to say that. I haven’t lived there any longer than I’ve lived here. As a matter of fact here and there are straight tied for time elapsed. When I move there, I will be slipping back into a favorite dress: a place where I know what I am, who I am, where I’m going.
I never thought I’d get to find home.
This move is different from the last four, you see. This fifth one, there are people waiting on the other end- people I love. People who have seen me through the last twelve years and beyond. When I step out of the car, I’m gonna get scooped up, hugged, spun around with abandon. People are counting down my family’s arrival like we count down to Christmas. (Six more days, if you’re wondering.)
As our life gets poured into boxes, the nooks and crannies cleaned, my ‘home’ disappearing into a sea of cardboard, I’m thinking.
Today is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. I can’t miss the connection points. I keep thinking about the older brother. In my younger years, I’d want to identify myself with the son or the father; time and experience tell me I’m more like the elder brother than I care to admit. Maybe it’s the military brat in me, the first born who knows the rules are rules and you don’t break them and what do you mean, let him come home? What do you mean, bring the fatted calf? He broke the rules.
Oh the lavish grace of the Father, the picture story of the God who will not let us go, ever calling us Home. The mercy, the grace, the hope of such a love as this. No matter how broken, no matter how hopeless. Bring my best robe. Tell the whole world my son has come home.
I’m headed home, you see. This place where they know my name. And all of this orchestrated by a Father God who saw fit to let me find home after so very many years of wandering and wondering.
As these boxes pile, I think of the bugle call at sunset. Retreat. Turn home. Find rest. Set the watch. Be faithful. Turn home.
I don’t know what the next ten years will bring. The bottom line is- I’m a military brat. I go where I’m sent. And along the way, I’m finding the grace and mercy to forgive myself for all the times I’ve broken the rules. Just keep my eyes on Home.