Longing for an Eternal Home
Letter from Lillian Luther
Hello, Sweet Friends!
My Chevrolet Equinox has seen a lot: over 92,000 miles of American highways and gravel backroads, nights of shared laughter and spilled Sonic drinks, flowing tears and back-seat napping, countless passengers (human and canine) riding shotgun, solo concerts and long phone calls.
I’ve made many trips from my university in Oklahoma to my home in Kansas. I’ve taken a cross-country tour to my first “big-girl” job in Washington, D.C. this past summer. In my glove box is a collection of lottery tickets from each state I’ve gone through, and I have a map on my wall at school that marks every newly-reached destination with a little red pin.
As a junior in college, my independence has allowed for a young and busy life that has been split between people and places I’ve grown to know and love well, spanning across the Midwest and to both coasts.
On a drive back to school last semester, after a less-than-perfect visit home, my mother tried to console me over the Bluetooth speaker as I shed a few quiet tears I couldn’t quite explain the root of. I had left my home feeling sad in a different way than I was used to. This feeling had arisen the previous evening, when a well-meaning friend of my siblings had unknowingly taken my regular seat at the kitchen table during our family meal. It felt like I didn’t have a place at my table or in my home in that moment, and the feelings lingered as I drove back to school.
“Lillian,” my mom said gently. “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, because I realize you’re in a strange place in your life. You have nowhere to call ‘home’ right now. It’s not in Oklahoma, because that’s not where you’re meant to stay. It’s not in D.C., because you’re not ready to be there yet. And now, it’s not in Kansas, because you only stay long enough to realize how much you miss us before you have to leave again. You feel a little lost right now because you don’t quite know where your home is – and that’s okay! It’s part of the journey.”
My mom was so easily able to identify and name what I had failed to notice in myself for a few weeks now – the deep longing I’d been feeling for a while to have a rooted place to call “home.” I let her words sink in as I reflected.
In the previous four months, I had spent my Sundays in churches all over D.C. and Northern Virginia, in Detroit and in New York City, at my university parish, in downtown Oklahoma City and in Kansas City, and at my family’s parish. I am blessed to have experienced so much of this beautiful world God has gifted us, both independently and shared with family, old friends, and new friends.
While I had greatly enjoyed the unique people and places I have grown to love through each of these respective journeys, I wasn’t able to carry anything with me from one place to the next. As soon as I felt settled - in my dwelling, in my community, and in my routine - it was time to pick up and leave again. There was a stark lack of permanence to every moment I lived.
The tears came a little more freely. I realized my mom was right. I had absolutely no idea where I was supposed to be in that moment, because I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere! I felt like a guest everywhere I had been in the past year – my house on campus, my home in Kansas, and the room I rented for the summer I had spent in D.C.
Do you feel the same longing, sister? Do you wonder where your home is in a life that’s been stretched thinly between the people and places you love?
In my young adult years, I’ve grown rich in experiences and friendships. But these special places and people only come together in the depths of my heart – in reality, they all exist in separate spheres of life, going about routine without me, carried back to me through photos and text messages and phone calls and sporadic visits. All of the places and people who have so radically molded me into the young woman I am are my home, yet I can never be “all there” in so many places at once.
So, then, I must not be home yet.
After wrestling with my homeless state, I shared a quiet Friday morning and a hot latte with my two sweet freshman girls during our weekly bible study. Luke 9:57-58 was on my heart:
As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
The call we have as Catholic-Christian women proceeding on our respective journeys, my sisters, is one of homelessness. A life led in the understanding that our challenge to rise to the countercultural call of Christ means we often have nowhere to rest our heads.
Our homeless state means we must live in the knowledge that there is great joy to be found in this beautiful world of ours, but there is greater joy to be awaited in an Eternity with Him. We long to follow Him wherever He goes but must realize our resting place is not on this earth.
So, then, we must not be home yet.
The deep longing I feel to call an earthbound place “home” is a gift – what a great blessing it is to be torn in so many directions, to have left pieces of my heart in the care of others! My desire is also an echo of the deepest longing on the hearts of all Christians – to find an Eternal Home in the arms of our loving Father.
For me, my current state of having no earthly home means I get to experience the bittersweet joy of missing loved ones and celebrate the privilege of visiting with them. I get to travel to new places, unhindered by the adult duties I will one day take on. This season of life is one that has taught me, more than anything, to live in the present moment as I buy new lottery tickets and place more little red pins and watch my odometer tick upwards on the next leg of my journey.
Because I am not home yet. We are not home yet.
And, sisters, I cannot wait to tell our King all about my journey when I finally, God-willing, reach my Destination.
To the Top,
Lillian E. Luther
About the Writer: Lillian Luther
Lillian Luther was born and raised in the beautiful Sunflower State. She loves studying in coffee shops with her friends and a cinnamony mug of black coffee, exercising with her four-legged running buddy, exploring new cities or tiny towns, and spending time with family at her cozy country home outside of Kansas City. She is a junior at The University of Oklahoma, studying on the Pre-Law track to graduate with Honors degrees in Economics and Entrepreneurship and a minor in Nonprofit Studies.