❝Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.❞ Revelation 21:1-4
Reflection by Marion Curry
Home is one of those words that to me elicits warmth, safety, comfort, a sense of place, and personal history. In a world where the news is filled with people fleeing a place where I believed all of these things were true, but are no longer so, leads me to reconsider what I previously assumed about home.
Part of my daily work and vocation is to support people with intellectual disabilities in having a home that is truly theirs, so there are frequent discussions with them about what they want in their home. These discussions will lean toward the “things” someone may want. The men usually want “a recliner” and could care less about that sofa or pretty table that in my mind are requirements. The women will often stop at wanting a pretty comforter for their bed. As to the aesthetics, often the preferences are not of the variety and quantity that I would consider essential. Yet this conversation about things does not begin to approach those issues that are the emotional connections to home.
Connections to the heart are really about relationships to yourself and others. In the last three years all the institutions for people with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues have closed in the state of Georgia. Because of this, part of my work has been to bring home to Tifton three people who have lived in institutions 36, 44, and 48 years respectively. These individuals did not return to their family home, but they did return home in that their families were nearby. In each case they connected or reconnected with family in a way that had not previously been possible due to distance. Nearby family drop in and visit; extended family come by when they are in town; family pictures have been framed and brought to decorate their rooms; thoughtful gifts such as a pretty necklace, a decorative pillow or a very cool hat have been offered and joyfully accepted. These caring actions are ones of the heart and relationship.
It occurs to me that this same intention is reflected by European citizens who reach out to refugees with gifts of diapers, blankets, and coats. For the refugees, home is in their memories, carried with their minimal belongings. And home is in those who travel and carry those memories with them, those they care about and who care about them.
The book of Revelation offers a vision of home; in truth, the promise not one of place, but of relationship with God. The video below of Brother from NEEDTOBREATHE captures this vision in music.