Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Home Is Where...

"Home is where the heart is..."  Haven't we all heard that one?  I'd say that's probably true, in a cliche'd sort of way.  I do know that when I'm away from my girls, I miss them terrible, no matter where they are at the time.  So yeah, home is where the heart is...

Now, having said that, here's what's really on my mind this morning.  I'm a United Methodist pastor.  Have been for nearly 13 years now.  I'm also an Elder in full connection...which means I'm a pastor who has vowed to itinerate...which also means that I'm appointed to a community one year at a time.  We never know from June to June where we'll be, and honestly, I don't mind.

It does, however, make finding a sense of "home" difficult at times.  As long as I'm with my girls, we can be at home in a tent, but there's something about getting ready to leave some place and being able to say to my family, "Let's go home."  It's a constant search, but this week, I think I found it.

We own a home of our own, but also have a parsonage in the community I serve.  Summer before last, I put out a garden at our house and loved it.  We would sneak away for a couple days at a time so I could work the garden, but the reality is, the food I raised there cost me probably three times what it would have to buy in a grocery.  It didn't make economical sense, so I didn't plant a garden last year...and I missed it something fierce.

This year, after having moved to a new community and church, I talked to my committee about putting a garden at the parsonage.  They told me to go ahead, and that it was no problem at all, so I began to plan.  Where was I going to put it?  What would I plant?  Would I even have time?  Then this Monday, I was under orders from my wife to do something I wanted to do...just for me.  The time for planning was over, so I got my garden tiller out, pulled a couple strings, and started breaking ground. 

The smell was unbelievable.  That fresh, earthy scent took me right back to when I was a 6 year old kid, riding the tractor with my Granddaddy while he disked his fields.  After a few hours on the tiller (and 600 mg of ibuprofen), I was ready to start sowing seeds.   I stopped at the local farm store (trying to buy more local anyhow), bought my seed and a few plants, then went to work.  I brought compost over from our house and worked it into the soil, pulled more strings (I'm OCD, so the rows had to be perfectly spaced and perfectly straight) and started planting...first garlic, cabbage, lettuce, and onions.  Then an herb garden, peppers, tomatoes, squash, and peas. 

As I planted our garden, I realized that I was at home.  We may not own the house that we sleep in most nights, but now it is our home.  I can look through the dining room windows and see our garden, and it might not make sense to anybody else, but to me that was the last piece of the puzzle.  Our furniture has been here for almost a year.  The church has bent over backwards to do all they can to make us feel at home, but something was missing. 

I don't know, maybe I just need a to see a counselor or something...maybe it's gardening and not  fishing or golf that relaxes me...but as I sat on the patio this morning, with a cup of coffee, looking at our garden, and watching the birds come to the feeder, I felt at home...finally.  So, home is where the heart is...but for me, home is also where the garden is...

Whether it's a spot cut up in the back yard, or plastic totes filled with potting soil, I think this country boy, from here on out, is going to have something growing no matter where we are.