Relaxed and at ease, I hugged my parents goodbye in February 2020 after my one and only solo trip back home to Northern California since marriage and having kids. Without any hesitation, I waved goodbye while walking through SFO’s International terminal, as my parents and I optimistically looked forward to seeing each other again soon on our annual summer trip with my husband and our two children, scheduled for six months later.
Disappointingly, that annual summer trip never happened as the world was suddenly invaded by Covid-19. None of us could have anticipated the impact of the pandemic in all areas of life and its disruptions, including travelling overseas to visit extended family.
Now just shy of three years, I’ve been thinking a lot about home lately as we prepare to journey out to see my parents over Easter. The suitcases are half-filled, especially with way too many bags and boxes of Cadbury’s chocolates and other British treats to bring to our American family and friends. Covid passes are printed, test kits have been ordered, and I’m preparing and cooking up all of the perishable items in the fridge.
Amongst the chopping of vegetables and fruits spread over the counter, I was singing along to Christian praise music and drifting in and out of prayer. In some of the songs, I nearly welled up with some tears as I chose to praise God beyond the unknown.
You see my wonderful husband has been suffering with unexplainable ear discomfort, off-and-on pain, and heaviness in his left ear since before Christmas. He’s still in the process of figuring it all out, having seen various ENT specialists, physiotherapists, etc. It isn’t an outer ear infection, so what exactly it is we’re unsure. And the thought of flying in just a few more days has worried him into paying for a private scan, as his ear just isn’t right. On top of that, our daughter has a ballet show this weekend before we travel and the mingling of germs in a post-Covid world has me anxiously hoping she stays healthy.
Home, seems far away right now. At least the home I grew up in. And the closer we get to this trip, day by day, hour by hour, I am humbly aware that it isn’t in my control whatsoever. Any number of things could go wrong, including my husband’s scan results advising not to fly, or one of us testing positive for Covid the day before we are due to travel. If there’s ever been a time I have realised that I am without control of my life, it is now! And through it all, I have a choice either to waste my time with worry, or keep singing praises to God while pressing through the concerns and questions.
While folding laundry to pack, baking and freezing a cake for the upcoming school bazaar, and doing last minute errands at the shops, I am choosing to praise God for His faithfulness and goodness, regardless of if we actually make it on this trip or not. We so badly want to go on this trip, particularly the children, and yet I know it is in these moments of waiting that I will grow the most in faith. Humbly, I choose to lay it all down, knowing that the right choice is to give my hopes back to God and rest in His sovereignty.
In God’s mercy, my husband’s scan came back with normal results and my daughter had a successful and healthy ballet show. Nearly ready to check in 24 hours in advance for our flight, we were all sat down at home taking our covid tests, while being on a video call to a nurse to supervise. My heart, and all of ours, sank as we saw a faint line begin to appear on my son’s test cassette. This was the child I hadn’t been concerned about and who had absolutely no symptoms at all! Absolutely gutted, we cancelled our plans, asked friends to pray with us, and waited for our son to get a negative test result. Two incredibly long days of waiting later, our boy was all clear! His travel test was negative, so the rest of us scrambled to get ours sorted, that evening I rebooked tickets, and we flew out to the US after all!
Miraculously, we only lost two days of the trip and it was wonderful to be reunited with my parents! Visiting with close friends and a special afternoon with my ninety-four year-old grandmother filled our hearts and nourished our souls up to the brim. I appreciated having easy access to the beach, taking my kids to the aquarium I went to as a kid, and eating classic doughnuts and burgers. As always, the time flew by so quickly while we were having so much fun. I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit my childhood home and soak into my roots for a while.
Looking back to twelve years ago, I recall my connotation of home evolving throughout the process of moving from the US to the UK. Unlimited by geographic boundaries, God has shown me over the years that home is wherever He leads me and wherever He is found. And because He is everywhere, home can be found anywhere.
For those of you who are unable to get back to your earthly childhood home frequently, know that God will comfort your heart and allow home to be wherever you are, because He is always with you. Beyond a physical home, we are all longing for our spiritual home in heaven. We can all look forward to truly being home one day, and until then, enjoy the many temporary homes that God allows us to have along life’s long journey Home.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.Psalm 100:4-5