My two sisters greeted my brother and me on the front sidewalk of the house. Then they opened the door. Wow! A garden right in the middle of the living area. Live plants and trees. Plus a small pond with a fountain. I had never stepped into a nicer home in my life.
That was my first impression of my aunt’s beach house.
More recently, my father, brothers, sisters, and I gathered at the beach house for a big birthday bash—three of us had birthdays that weekend. After everyone else left, I remained an additional two nights.
The extra nights offered me time to reconnect with my old stomping grounds near Corpus Christi. I spent a morning walking the beach at Mustang Island. I took an afternoon to sip a latte at the C. C. Barnes & Noble and write. I lounged on the beach house balcony and inhaled the gulf-side breeze. Fresh cup of coffee in hand, I said, “I’m home.”
What made the beach house—a place where I’m at best only a temporary visitor—feel like home?
1) Familiarity: Although my visits are short, I return each time to the familiar. In the pleasure-retaining recesses of my mind are memories of my childhood along the gulf coast. Even in Wisconsin, a wind out of the south recalls a gulf-side breeze. My aunt’s beach house doesn’t simulate those breezes. It’s surrounded by them.
2) Delight: Each room at the beach house holds a treasure trove of good experiences from the past—a family issue resolved, a joyous night of fun and games, the spooky late-night movement of fish, a wonderful steak dinner prepared by many hands, laughter, tears, and prayers. All this and more has happened there and each has brought a sense of delight.
3) Comfort: I’ve asked several times to stay at the beach house. My aunt has always said yes to my requests. Her gracious response kindles a strong sense of welcome in my heart. I feel comfortable there whether I’m working, celebrating, or relaxing.
I think my temporary enjoyment of the beach house touches on some characteristics of our forever HOME.
Although HOME remains veiled in mystery, it somehow seems familiar. I believe it’s different, surpassing anything we can think or imagine, but it’s not all together different. Better, certainly. Strange, perhaps. But somehow also familiar.
I think awe-inspiring surprise, unimaginable delight, and unceasing joy will fill every nook and cranny of HOME. You and I will walk through HOME’s hallways, peek into its kitchen, survey the exquisite gardens out back, and be drop-jawed amazed at what we find.
Put on your oldest pair of jeans, your can’t-toss-it sweatshirt, or your best broken-in sneakers and you’ll get an idea of what I mean when I use the word comfort to describe HOME. The level of comfort, both internal and external, will exceed anything we’ve experienced in this present world.
Questions: So what do you think? Do you agree with my thoughts about HOME? What would you change or add?