What is your only comfort?

Urban God-talk for the church-o-phobic.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Home-again home-again rigidee-gig-gig

On the last day of any vacation, as our extremely large Detroit-built family stationwagon pulled into the drive way, my mother always exclaimed "home again, home again, rigidee-gig-gig!" I am sure of two things:

1. I have misspelled this significant phrase
2. It is an idiosyncratic statement that most likely only my mother would say

But after close to 30 years of coming home, I find myself saying it now as well. I don't quite know what it means. But put in the context of the joy of returning home after a fun-filled, it holds a slew of happy memories.

Indeed, today I returned home following a week and a half vacation. We went camping out in the woods, then traveled through Michigan. Jen endured a greatest hits of Ann's early childhood tour - Holland Hospital, Longfellow School, Lawndale Court, Third Reformed Church and Western Seminary then got to meet my beloved aunt and her family. A good time was had by all, but it felt good to come home again.

We listened to hours and hours of NPR along the way, which provided us with moment-by-moment updates from Gaza. This led to many conversations about the significance of "home" for people and of having a relationship with God as the ultimate "home." I've moved a lot throughout my life, and have learned to hold loosely to geographical locations and buildings because they change, or we change, and suddenly they aren't "home" any more. Holland is certainly no longer a "home" for me. I do not feel particularly safe in the town of my birth, and I don't "fit in" too well. Nonetheless, there was a time in my life when all I wanted was to return there.

I cannot imagine what life is like for the people who are currently being forced to leave their homes in Gaza. But I do know that home is where your heart sings and your relationships grow - with yourself, with those you love and with God. It doesn't necessarily happen where you think it should. When I was nine, I'd have given anything to move back to Holland. Now I can't imagine it When I was 20 I wouldn't think of moving away from northern Manhattan. Today my home is in a neighborhood I hadn't heard of until two and a half years ago. God has strange plans for us, and when we try to map them out, we find our plans change and our maps are no longer any good to us.

The only things in life that we can be sure of are that things change and that God is present in the good times and the bad. I pray that life for the Gaza settlers and for all those in the Middle East may move towards peace. Peace feels unlikely and impossible, but with God all things are possible, even if they do seem improbable.


At 8:23 AM, Blogger Songbird said...

It's the second line of a nursery rhyme, and I've often spoken it myself (not the pig part):
To market, to market
To buy a fat pig!
Home again, home again

Home is such an interesting concept. I listened to a weeping Gaza resident on NPR yesterday morning. I felt badly about her distress, particularly when she said she felt she was being raped. The trouble with the troubles in Israel/Palestine is that both sides have power structures that think nothing of nullifying others--and that applies both to their enemies and their own people. Sure, a move out of a danger zone and a relocation fee that has been estimated at $300,000 to $500,000 isn't the same thing as being asked to strap on a bomb and explode yourself and others, but the climate is one in which the lives of individuals merit no consideration.

We've got a bit of a case of that in this country, too, at the moment.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Purechristianithink said...

I say the home again,home again line as well--and after such mundain outings as trips to the grocery store or library.

To market, to market to buy a fat pig
Home again home again jiggety-jig.
To maket to market to buy a fat hog
Home again home again jiggety jog.
To market, to market to market to buy a plum bun
Home again, home again market is done.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Ann said...

So much for #2! Looks like my mom must have said some nursery rhymes to us as kids. Now that you've written the whole thing down, I remember it. Thanks for the refresher. I guess I need to brush up on my nursery rhymes.


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