The phone rang at a familiar time of the day.
"This is Dorris. I am at some sort of hotel, I don’t know where, and I need someone to come pick me up."
I responded in an equally familiar way:
"You are not at a hotel, you are in your room."
"Take a look around. Do you see your things?"
"Yes, I see my couch and my clothes and my pictures, but . . ."
"Nothing seems familiar, does it?"
Earlier in the day my mother-in-law had suffered through a long eye doctor appointment and now that she was waking from her nap, she was lost and confused. It is interesting to me that she easily recognizes her things, and often comments that she has her furniture at this "hotel" but, still insists that she doesn’t live there.
One time she remarked that some salesman had made a mint selling black couches, because she explained, " there is a black couch, just like this one, in every hotel room I stay at."
What an unsettling way to live. Familiar objects surround her, but nothing feels familiar. Her brain no longer connects emotions to what she sees. We count on these matching emotions to make judgements about the world around us. Even as early as a year ago Dorris was calling from her home of nearly 50 years and insisting that she was lost.
Thankfully, she is blessed with the ability to trust those who care for her. Even though things don’t feel familiar, she is reassured that she is indeed where she belongs.
Some days I read the news and wonder why the world seems like such an unfamiliar place. Even though I sin continually, this sinful world does not feel like home. I cannot stop myself from sinning, but every fiber of my being wants to be in a sinless place. This is a desire born of faith, a desire put into my heart by the Spirit at my baptism. It is an unrelenting desire, and I cling to it.
This world that values materialism over concern for humankind, this world that tries to solve problems with violence and pride, this world that leaves its inhabitants without hope, without joy, without love. My life, my actions, my thoughts - my sins- tell me I belong here.
But, this world is not my home.
Dorris trusts me when I reassure her that she is where she belongs. I trust that my Heavenly Father knows the plans He has for me. I trust that He prepares a room for me and that one day I will be home, where I belong.
Thank you, Father, for creating this home, for giving me the desire to live there, and the trust that you will one day bring me home.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3: 17-21 ESV)