Homing pigeons, home for the holidays, home sweet home, Home Depot, nursing home, homestead, mobile home, homeless, homeslice, homework, home run, homing device. [bonus points if you think of any good ones I missed.]

Home [hōm]: The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

“A place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.”

(Oxford Dictionary)

I’m loving being home–the first kind, where most of my family lives.  It was a long (but good) semester, and it’s going to be a long (but good) summer traveling on a singing team with my college.  I have three weeks to be at my first home.  Two of them are over–a week from right now, I’ll be gone again.  I’m so grateful for these days–time with precious siblings, talks with Mom and Dad, being at my home church again, baking and washing dishes and ironing and doing homey things.  Being at this home is restorative, relaxing, and enjoyable.  These are the people I belong to and with.

However, even in this time I’ve been home, I’ve been discovering the second kind of home more and more.  The place I flourish.  It, too, is a place of belonging.  A place of restoration.  It involves being with the people–rather, person–whom I belong to.  Same quality time, same deep conversations.  But it’s my portable home.  He’s my portable home.

Home is where I truly belong–my real home, my lasting home, is heaven.  But home is also whom I truly belong with.  Every day I am more and more aware of how much I belong to and with Jesus.  His presence completes my need for belonging; conversation with him restores me.  I love him.

It’s simple logic, really:

Jesus is the one I really belong with.

Where the one I belong with is is home to me.

Jesus is everywhere–he never leaves me.

I have home everywhere. 

So yeah, I’m traveling this summer.  Every night I’ll have a new home.  The bus will be home on the road.  I’ll be away from home–but not really.  The peace and restoration that comes from being home can be mine every day, because Jesus is mine every day.  I can’t wait until he takes me to my true home.  And until then, I’ll love every day of being home with him–wherever that may be.

Be still

Be still and know that I am God [Psalm 46:10].

Today was not a still day.  Today was insane at times–the very opposite of relaxation, peace, calm.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I got a job at Dairy Queen for the summer, and I’m on my third week of burgers and fries.  Honestly, DQ has restored my faith in fast-food.  No, it’s not the healthiest thing you could eat–neither does it claim to be–but it’s not terrible.  We don’t drop burgers on the floor and still serve them.  We chop our tomatoes and onions fresh every morning (unlike MacDonalds, but that’s another story you probably don’t want to hear…).  Your meal was made fresh–your double cheeseburger hasn’t been sitting on a warmer for an hour.  That would be icky.

Working at DQ has also opened my eyes a little.  Okay, so you don’t get a bachelors degree to go make blizzards, but this isn’t for the fainhearted.  It’s a job that’s high stress–lots to remember, lots of multi-tasking, fast-paced.  There are days like today.  When there are less people scheduled than usual.  When 3 customers come in before I have my station ready to go.  When there are 45 minutes of non-stop orders over lunch.  When the manager and your co-worker argue over the counter for 7 minutes about whether or not the bacon cheese burger is made to the customer’s no-pickle, no-mayo specifications.  7 minutes when there are 3 orders still to be filled for front counter and 5 for drive-thru.

[Whiny whiny whiny.  So Ruth got a job and she’s not used to being a grown up and dealing with life yet.  Yep, I’m not.  Bear with me.]

There are moments when I’m not still.

Today, I was running between the freezer and the fry-fryer (wait… what?), and I paused, mid-moment.  I almost froze mid-air–

Be still.

I was very not still at that moment–of course not still physically, but also not still mentally, spiritually.

Be still.

God, how can I be still?  How can there be any peace and rest in this chaos that is my life right now?

Child, be still.  Just rest.  I know this moment it is hard to slow down and feel my presence, but I’m not asking you to come to me.  Remember, I’m before time and after time.  I created time.  I’m not bound by it any more than I’m bound by gravity, inertia, distance–they’re my creations, not my rulers.  You can’t come where I am, to this timelessness–at least not yet.  Someday.  But for today, you’re in this moment.  You’re busy, rushed, frazzled by the ticking clock, the deadline, the beeper telling you the cheese curds are done.  No, today, I’m not asking you to escape time and be still.  I, the timeless one, am entering your moment and bringing my stillness with me.

I’m inviting you, if you will, to be still.

You’re worried about time–the rest of today, tomorrow, next year.  But closer than that, you’re worried about this moment.  Don’t.

Be still, my soul.  Thy God doth undertake to guide the future [and the present] as he has the past.  Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake.  All now mysterious shall be bright at last.  Be still, my soul.  The winds and waves still know the voice who ruled them while he dwelt below. [“Be still my soul,” stanza 2, by Kathrina von Schlegel, translated by Jane L. Borthwick, inspired by I AM]

The beauty of Jesus’ presence: he is with me every minute, even though he doesn’t even operate in minutes.  He calls me to, every moment, live in his momentlessness–to sense that he is God.

Be still.

Pressing sensations: to the summer bums

Smooth rayon/poly blend.

Weighty denim.

Light linen.

Thick, stubborn duck.

Crisp cotton.

Stretch cotton. Ugh.

There’s something about just feeling the smoothness of the fabric under your fingers, seeing the wrinkles magically disappear, sensing the steam rush towards your face and smelling the warm fabric.

 Ironing: it’s such a simple household task, but one filled with a hundred small sensations.

Just one question for you, summer bum [and we know who we are–you have a favorite youtube channel, binge watched/read something after finishing and have probably spent more than 2 consecutive hours in front of a screen, both of which I am guilty, by the way]: did you feel anything today?  There are a dozen better reasons I could give for getting off the couch [please God, serve others, accomplish something, don’t waste your life…], but today this was the one that struck me.

I walked both paths today–laziness and industry.  The hour I sat and watched youtube had nothing on cooking supper, ironing, weeding, cleaning up.  The pressure of my knife on crisp carrots, the slightly raw feeling on my hands after wrenching grass out of the garden, the slippery warmth of dish water.  That… or sitting in front of my laptop.  It was fun.  But not satisfying.

Tomorrow, do something.  Please.  For your own sake, if nothing else.  You’re missing out.

Feel something.