When people ask me where I am from (meaning geographically), I pause for a moment, trying to figure out how to explain where I belong. Then I begin-- “I was born in Mobile, Alabama and lived in Cleveland, Ohio and Dallas, Texas, but I spent most of my growing up years in Minnesota, first in a small town west of the Twin Cities and then in a suburb on the outskirts of Minneapolis.” It’s my standard answer, a rehearsed speech to shed light on why many cannot figure out where I am from based on my accent. As a kid, I learned to adapt to transition, and while I didn’t love saying goodbye, I learned to value the adventure of new beginnings. And with every move, came new relationships. Unexpectedly, a small town in rural Georgia has now become the place I call home. But perhaps more so than a location, people define my sense of rootedness. Though I haven’t moved around as much as I did in my earlier years, I still feel like home for me isn’t so much about a place as it is about people. A few months ago, an editor friend and I were exchanging ideas about how to keep relationships in the church healthy (for a future project). Responding to my thoughts about how to bring relational healing within a body of believers, he wrote, “I think that is what people are starving for. A community of people using their gifts together, and doing so in authenticity, not worried about what people think of their inner (i.e.. real) self. That's the place we'd all like to be.” We’re all looking for a sense of home, not in a place, but a Person. It’s my hope that whatever I’m investing my life in brings others a little closer there.
When Scott and I talk about how the two of us ended up together, we see the beauty and humor of heaven in it. After all, I liked poetry; he only read non-fiction. I liked CCM artists (it was a long phase in my life)while he would rock out to Mad at the World and One Bad Pig. Now there are days when only Stryper can adequately capture my mood, and every so often he quotes one of my favorite poets. Though it still makes its way into one of his sermon reference’s every now and then, I think he’s finally gotten over the fact I shook his hand after our first date (it’s a long story). Most important, we loved--and still love--Jesus without reserve. That's been our saving grace, and I don't say that lightly. Marriage is hard work. Being best friends is hard work. And staying connected through the tough places in life is hard work. But nothing worthwhile happens without a fight. And nothing is as valuable, or makes me feel as safe, as knowing Scott loves Jesus more than me. We still don't have the same taste in music. His latest vibe is Johnny Cash and anything rockabilly, and I just discovered Black Violin. But, come hangout on our back porch one evening and you'll find we still have much to talk about. Usually, it's theology, and sometimes we're debating, but, hands down, he's still my favorite person to be with.
We call her Carebear. I can still remember seeing her tiny, porcelain face when they handed her to me the day she was born. Petite in frame, our daughter, Charis, is fiercely strong in spirit, and we wouldn't have her any other way. She has a quick mind for politics and history (which she gets from her dad), making her a force to be reckoned with and a writer in her own right. Though in many ways she provides a window to my own soul, big cities are her vibe, and New York her home. I tell her she will always be my favorite daughter.
As a kid, I was forever absconding the belongings of others in order to complete my latest act of genius. I never intended to steal; I simply believed in borrowing and often forgot to return a lot of items to my family members. Micah is my mom's payback. The family artist in residence, Micah leaves a trail of his creative activity everywhere he goes. The micro level of clean-freak in me finds this reality challenging, especially when it comes to keeping the house straight. Micah loves in the same way he creates art--multi-directional and wide open.