Thursday, July 2, 2009

“Home” is knowing your way around

I am away from “home” as I write this. I am at my sister’s house in Southern Utah surrounded by red rock and looking over a magnificient view of the valley. I’m very comfortable in my sister’s home. I know where everything is and how she likes things done. I came to help her out for about a week because she just had surgery. I spent 14 hours at the hospital yesterday; first in the waiting area and later in Camille’s hospital room.

Being in the hospital brought back many memories of all the days and even weeks I spent at Phoenix Children’s Hospital with BJ during the years of his illness. We never left him alone there for more than the 30 minutes it might take me to shower or go get something to eat. If I needed a longer break, someone would come and spell me. I even slept in his room in a chair that was supposed to turn into a comfortable bed (it wasn’t). I became very familiar with the hospital during those times. I knew the best floor to find a shower room available, the back stairs down to the cafeteria, where the treats were that I was free to go and get for my son, which floor had what kinds of patients and I was well known among the nurses and staff. I often had people bring me veggies that I would steam in the microwave and managed to create delicious and aromatic meals. We had a stack of movies and games and spent hours together, when BJ was up to it. Other times I would read. BJ’s engaging personality had a stream of visitors and staff members in his room most of the time. Being there for extended periods strangely evolved into a feeling of “family.” It even became our “home away from home.” I knew my way around the hospital only too well.

Other places over the years have been our “home away from home.” When our children were young we used to go camping at a family reunion for nearly a week each summer. The tents were set up, cooking and eating places created and sleeping bags were unrolled. I even went so far as to create an enclosed stall out of PVC pipes and shower curtains for our porta-potty. We had it down to a routine. We knew how it worked and nestled into our temporary “home.”

A delightful “home” was created in a small cabin on a cruise ship when Jim and I discovered the Mexican Rivera for eight days. Our belongings were unpacked, meal schedules memorized and it wasn’t long before we had a routine going. For eight glorious days we knew our way around that ship; it was ‘home.”

Visiting family, traveling, even being diplaced for unexpected emergencies, it is human nature to nest, to figure out how things work wherever we are and to settle in. This is why I titled my blog, “Home is knowing your way around.” Once we are close enough to a situation or a location to know our way around, we become more at ease and start to “feel at home.” There is much truth in the familiar sayings, “Home is where the heart is,” or “Home is where you hang your hat.” I think any place where we feel welcomed, comfortable and can learn our way around begins to feel like “home.”

This brings me to my final thought: I hope and pray that when the time comes that I really go home, to that Father who created me, that somehow I will have done enough. My motives are pure, but there is so much that I never seem to get to … I only hope that whatever I have managed to accomplish, it will be sufficient to have the Savior, in His mercy, take me in His open arms and say, “Welcome Home.” And I pray also, that I will know my way around well enough to know that I have finally come home.