You might say it was just a house. I saw it as hope for life-long connection; for community. We bought it with the hope of first marriage; the efflorescence of daughter. I put in sprinklers and planted a little lawn. Walked to school with the five-year old. Got a dog; black and white Australian Shepherd, Collie mutt. The neighbors from around the corner brought over cookies. The neighbor next door complained about the dog. The grass grew; daughter too.
We had birthday parties in the backyard; Spongebob Squarepants and reptile themed. Invited the cookie-givers children; all three. The daughter played with two boys from down the street that brought their parents. Summer days we’d pull up the cheap plastic chairs and chat in each other’s backyards. In my heart I thought I’d found it---constancy, Americana, neighborhood, a place of permanence. I was wrong.
It all frayed at once. The threadbare marriage showed jagged tears. The two boys houses down moved North with their parents. A kindred had formed with the cookie clan but job loss here meant a new job elsewhere. With the marriage barely intact Providence thrust us out of the house, out of the area and into a place we did not know.
So it goes. This hunger for permanence and place remains. A perceptible ache that is always there below the surface. This ache for home; for that far country. For we wander “in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground,” til we finally, God willing, come home.