|my brother and me on a family roadtrip 1980|
As a child, my family drove from the cool California coast to the hot red dirt of Oklahoma every summer. My father’s grandparents lived there, raising cattle and cotton all their lives until eternity called them home to Jesus in my early adolescence.
My parents wanted us to know the hot sun on our faces as we fed the cattle and the taste of grape soda from ancient coolers. We squealed while riding in the back of pick-up trucks through the cotton fields, my brother hunting rabbits with a bee bee gun as we drove.
They took us there so we could remember the smell of my Grandaddy- a mixture of leather and the fresh roll of cash he kept in his shirt pocket. We needed to hear the sound of Granny’s voice welcoming us and lamenting our lives were in California, where she was sure we lived just like the heathens on the soap operas she saw on television.
We saw the wall of gold-framed family photographs, sat in the recliners in their wood-panelled den, and heard the old doorbell chime a lovely tune when my brother and I took turns pushing the button repeatedly before being scolded by someone.
Summer after summer, we learned we had a home in Anaheim Hills, California, and we had a home in Frederick, Oklahoma. That was the gift my parents gave us by taking the time to drive across deserts and over mountains, from our suburban west coast lives.
This summer Mr. Fantastic and I took our family the opposite route, from the hill country of Austin to the California coast. My children splashed in pools with their grandparents, felt the ocean sand sink under their feet, and climbed the tree I climbed as a child in the front yard of my parents’ house. They met family they didn't know they had, heard wonderful old stories from grandmothers and great-uncles and -aunts, and saw faces that bear *slight* resemblances to their own.
Mile after mile, we gained ground in their souls, giving them the gift of knowing that there are homes beyond our own where they belong, where they are loved, where there are people with whom they share love, blood, and legacy.
I am learning more and more with age what it means to belong. The journey we take as we follow Christ’s narrow way is laden with many gifts, but perhaps the greatest of all is that of belonging.
We belong to Christ (Romans 7:4), we also are members of one body who belong to each other (Romans 12:5), and we share a heavenly home beyond this one. Mile by mile, we are journeying there together, learning the sound of His voice and the smell of His grace.
It is a joy to be a part of the family of God. Mr. Fantastic and I carry with us a deep gratitude that we are homeward bound with the rest of Christ's Bride. We belong to Him and we belong together, and that is a gift in the truest sense of the word.
May this weekend be full of memorable moments of belonging for you. And may Christ meet you wherever you journey, and whisper in your ear that you belong.
Happy Weekend, friends!