For a variety of reasons, I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of home. We have just returned from a wonderful visit with family, friends and colleagues in “our home and native land”. Now we are settling into another year in our adopted home in KL.

It was such a joy and privilege to spend time with Greg and Liz as they settle into their first home together, the very home in which Greg grew up.  We spent lovely days in Ayr, reconnecting with our grandkids in the home that has been a secure haven for them for the past three years. We even had a lovely visit and dinner with Milan, Sara and their boys in the condo which I suppose is somehow our home in Ontario since we own it and it is filled with most of our earthly belongings, such as they are. We also had the joy of staying in my brother’s home enjoying the use of the granny suite that was home to my Dad and Mom for almost twelve years. Without Randy and Syl’s gracious hospitality we would be truly homeless in Ontario!

Today Jon and Nic and their kids watched as the contents of their first family home were loaded into a truck for a move across the continent to their new home in Washington State. It will be both a fun adventure and a huge dislocation for everyone adjusting to life far away from the family and friends they have enjoyed.

In the course of our marriage, we have lived in nine homes on three different continents. The very word home has very strong and positive connotations. We all need to feel connected to a home that creates a sense of familiarity, of belonging, of certainty and security. Now, for the first time in our marriage all of our immediate family have left Ontario, leaving us feeling oddly disconnected, even though we ourselves have been away for over five years. Fortunately we both have brothers, sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews who we love dearly along with many close personal friends with whom we will continue to have connection with in Ontario, and who will always play a huge part of our lives.

Along with the idea of a physical home comes the very strong realization that we also have a “home team”. We are so grateful for those friends who listen to us, care for us, laugh and cry with us, share their hearts and homes with us, encourage, pray and support us. We have come to recognize that home for us is not a set place, or a city on a map. It is wherever the people you love are, whenever you are together building memories both happy and sad, that become a part of us wherever we may be. This is very much like the Christian concept of ‘church,’ which properly understood does not refer to any physical building, whether in Rome, Canterbury or down the street, but rather is the people of God gathered in His name. In a similar way, home for us truly is where our hearts live.