Each of us, somewhere within, have the makings of a vagabond, a tendency towards leaving. Perhaps this is why we find Tolkien’s quote so comforting: “Not all who wander are lost.” Perhaps we are not lost. But is it true that we wander because we long to find something?
I’ve come to the conclusion that I wander because I am searching for home.
Home. That word somehow evokes an indescribable ache. An ache which seems to point towards something I have experienced, and yet, haven’t quite found.
Among the collection of pictures which this word rouses in my heart are the faces of friends and family, favorite places, comfortable things, and other notions that I can’t quite name. But they have something to do with familiarity. Belonging. Knowing.
Home isn’t a place. Home has no walls, no physical location for me, because home is a thousand little moments spread across the timetable of my wanderings: The kitchen table of my friend, the couch in my dorm, the fireplace in my basement. Home is a canoe in the lakes of the north woods, the beating rain of the jungle, the thin air of mountains. Home is airplane wheels on a runway, the neighborhood sidewalk, the last little stretch of road, the smell of apple pie. Home is rainy days and fuzzy blankets, hot chocolate and soft kittens, the jingling of keys. Home is my own bed. Home is coming back from wherever I’ve been.
How can I tell you where my home is? My home is wherever I wander. I am not lost as I wander through these places, these people, but I remain longing, because in all of these I cannot stay. What I long to find is a home that is not fleeting. A home that does not end. Permanence.
I recently read a suggestion that heaven will be a sort of coming home.
I think this is true. As Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” I find a desire for eternity written on my heart, a longing for all of these moments to stay, to be unhindered by time. Where is the home that never escapes me?
I wonder if heaven is a place we are entirely familiar with, which we have known all our lives, but never realized. Perhaps the longings in our hearts are thin places through which we glimpse eternity, like little windows. They are but a foreshadowing, like the smell of rain, indicating greater things.
I would imagine it is so. In this world I remain a vagabond. But only because I am wandering home.