By Donna Tobin Smith
“How often do you come back home?” I asked. I had been talking to one of my oldest son’s high school friends. It had been a while since I had seen him. He had graduated from college and taken a job out of state. He and my son still kept in touch and had planned a ski trip during the holidays.
“To tell you the truth,” he had answered, “I really don’t get back very often. In fact, I actually come home as little as possible. After all, it is Lexington. When I come here, I feel like I’m regressing. No offense.”
Regressing? Ouch. I was glad my grown son was out of earshot. Like a mama bird, I felt the need to protect my chick. Yes, even the chick that had long flown my coop. I had lived with this son being out of the nest for many years. I had endured his absence on birthdays and holidays. I understood his restlessness and his sense of adventure, knowing that there was a big world out there, ready to be explored. But I wanted home to always be special to him. I wanted home to be that safe place where he could return when the stresses of life began to overwhelm. And if I was perfectly honest, I wanted him to settle near home some day, close enough to be part of those family times that we hold so dear.
Yet, here was one of his buddies saying that for himself, at least for a while, that wasn’t going to happen. As silly as it was, I didn’t want him to say that in front of my son.
I’d always been a homebody myself. My husband and I lived away from home for the first six years of our marriage. But when we had our first child, this oldest son, the thought of that child calling another place home was something that neither of us wanted. So we rearranged our lives and within two years, we brought that little son home to Davidson County. We have made this our home ever since.
But the friend’s comment all those years ago has certainly made me think. Spiritually speaking, I would venture to say that many people experience similar thoughts and feelings.
I didn’t ask questions, so I don’t know why my son’s friend felt the way he did. But I can count numerous times when I had been a spectator to a battle to bring a wandering one home, only to see him plant his feet and refuse to budge. How many sons and daughters are clamping their ears, refusing to hear when the Lord calls, softly and tenderly, as the old song says, “Ye who are weary, come home?”
My son once joked with me about a scene from a movie that he had watched. In the movie, the weepy mother cried to her nearly grown son, “Why are you doing this to me?” she had asked. “Because,” her son answered, “that is what people do when they graduate from high school, Mother. They go to college.”
I admit that mothers can be super sensitive. But I also know that to be raised in a Christian home is a blessing. To have neighbors and friends who have the same godly values is a blessing, too.
I know that it’s not the Lord’s plan for everyone to settle in his or her childhood home. My son has done mission work in Mexico and Ecuador, and will soon spend a whole year in Australia. I don’t know where the Lord will call him to make his home. But I do want him to know one thing. I will try really hard to make the home of his childhood a perfect stop, a peaceful resting place on his journey in life. And most of all, I will remind him that to go home is not regressing at all. In fact, it is a step in exactly the right direction and the only place to revive a weary soul.