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The setting was a mild fall day in early September. Driving to college on a Saturday morning, I was fresh from vacationing in Florida.

Arriving at Cottingham, the honors dorm, my older brother Joseph (a junior) and I (a freshman) signed in at the front desk, saying hi to the hall director and RA—people whose faces would become very familiar in the coming weeks.

Room 105. The room next door to where Joseph had stayed the previous year. Inhabited by a drunk, and apparently odiferous. Well, the smell had worn off, and after we removed the orange tape from walls, pulled the fork out of the ceiling, and scrubbed the room thoroughly, the room seemed habitable. But it was not home.

Home was at the church that Sunday—saying hi to people I had not seen in quite some time. Home was meeting new friends, becoming comfortable, setting down roots in a place so that I was no longer a stranger but a familiar face. Take away the faces, and I’m alone, far from home. Some days I still feel far from home—homesick, but only because I am far from friends and family. I have made many surface-level friendships, but it’s the difference between stopping at a cozy hotel for the night and being back in one’s own bed. A sense of belonging. My older brother is home. A few others are very close. My mom and dad, my siblings, my grandparents, are all home. I could be anywhere in the world with them, and I would be home.

There is a degree to which I haven’t reached home yet. But there’s so much to be thankful for—that even though we’re dust and ashes, these ashes may still get a taste of the true home.

“…I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” There God will greet us, “Welcome home.”

_________________________

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” – Hebrews 11.13-16

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