One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
~ Psalm 27:4 - 5
Usually when someone asks me where I grew up, I tell them, "Rattlesnake Holler, Indiana." In truth, I grew up all over the place. I attended six schools prior to middle school. I suppose I call the Holler home because it was the first time I lived in one place and attended the same school for any amount of time. We lived there for nearly three years until we moved again when I was a freshman in high school. Once in high school my mother went through another divorce and I found myself "couch surfing" for a period of time with friends, and then finally given space to stay in the farmhouse of my school bus driver who learned of my situation.
I have to admit, there were times when I really didn't know where my home actually was. Years later while spending time with one of my chaplain supervisors, he asked me, "So, have you addressed your grief from this time in your life?"
I really didn't quite know what to say. I had thought that my childhood had actually been pretty good. I spent summers with my grandparents who traveled around the country with my sister and I, and I had friends at every school I attended. I even still have friends in my life now from that very first school I attended fifty years ago.
It's interesting how a question or words from someone will get you thinking about life, and life situations. While I would like to think that life was good, you know, now that I think about it, there were many times when I was sad about starting over all the time. The loss of childhood things with each move. The times that I felt the loss of belonging somewhere, and the times when going into survivor mode when I felt like there simply weren't any more options, became regular occurrences rather than milestones.
I think if we all are honest, there are some things that can be brought to our mind as being unresolved, but then there is Jesus who invites us to come, and bring all of "this" with us.
I realize that it is those experiences of being in new places where I had to constantly meet new people and make new friendships, that makes it possible for me to now walk into strangers homes and then to journey with them in my role as a hospice chaplain.
The proverbial "making lemonade out of lemons" is the Pslamist's reminder to each of us to ask, "that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple."
We are God's temple, and in one another we seek to find a place where we are always at home, and where all that we have encountered is made into a purpose, even in times of trouble, we will be safe and lifted up upon the rock.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.