Sunday Sermonizing: My personal Wonder Years and Home
It’s a two-story, yellow, Victorian home located on 10th St. in Rochelle, Il.
That’s "the place where grown up". I remember the yard with small trees. My dad was always concerned about those trees. We had a cranky neighbor across the street who kind of made fun of him for his trees. Dad was afraid I'd run them over with the lawnmower. I was new to lawn mowing. And, while fairly tall for my age, I didn’t have a whole lot of coordination and control.
I did run over a few small trees during my early lawn mowing years.
I remember the block I lived on. It was a long, city block. (Small town block?) At least it seemed long to me as an eight-year-old. Our neighbor, Mary, owned a couple of the lots on the block. She had a grove of trees on the far side of her yard. I used to climb those trees. She didn't mind. I also used to hide my winter boots in those trees in the late winter. Mom always wanted me to wear my boots over my sneakers to school every day. I hated those boots and loved the freedom of mere sneakers. So I hid my boots in the trees while walking to school, and put them back on my way home.
In the Summer, I could ride my bike anywhere I wanted within about a 10 block range. It may have been a 5 block range. It seemed like forever. I wasn’t allowed to cross Highway 51. I crossed the highway a couple of times and got in trouble for it.
I read every book in the children’s section of the Rochelle public library. I went a lot, considering I had to get special permission to go to the library because it was across Highway 51. (That also may have been one of the times I was in trouble.) I remember the day I got my first book from the adult section of the public library. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.
These were my own personal wonder years. It was home.
I remember being sad when we moved away.
Roots have never taken hold of my nomad life since then. I did my later growing up years in the South. The fam moved to another home further out of Atlanta about the time I graduated from high school and moved away. They laid down roots there for 30+ years. In the meantime, I bounced around the Southeast and the world with my family.
I think about home a lot. Especially its lack of definition. I don’t know where to call home these days. I currently lay my head down at night in South Carolina. But I’m always open to laying my head down somewhere else. Nomadic instincts are mine, both by genetics and experience. (My parents were the first stray South and Mongolia is the home of nomads.)
After a week of upheaval, both personally and globally, I think a lot about home. I think of the places I've called home - and the places I'd like to call home. I also think of those fleeing their homes because their homes are being destroyed. I think of the Son of Man who had no place to lay his head.
Which leaves me both grateful - and longing for more. We walk in far more paradox than we know.