I love this video. This woman is at her college graduation, and although the moment is a happy one, there is something missing. Namely, her brother. He’s a Marine, and he was serving in Afghanistan, and because of that, he was unable to attend her graduation.
At least that’s what she thought.
But, unbeknownst to her, the brother is behind the stage just waiting for her name to be called. And at that special moment, he comes out and the rest is magic.
There is something profound about people coming home._______________
So these last few weeks have been quite surreal to say the least. I have never, since leaving college, had anything resembling this last month. Highland’s Shepherds, in their wisdom, give me a Sabbatical in July every year. At first it just sounded like a good perk to preaching at a great church. But I realize just how much more it is than that now.
It’s good to be able to step back for a few weeks from the daily grind to plan sermon series for the year, and to get perspective about future ministry goals. It’s helped me to formulate some vision for my ministry and catch up time with family.
But it’s been weird too.
We spent the first couple of weeks in Arkansas seeing my family and visiting with old friends. I’ve spent time studying, praying, talking to mentors and coming back to places that I have lived at before. I got to spend time in Searcy, Benton, Ft. Worth and Nashville. And each place feels like it has a piece of our heart.
I’ve heard it said that Home is where you have the most pairs of underwear, but that doesn’t work for me. I’m far too nostalgic for my own good. These places have each formed us in very different ways.
There’s a quote from Johan Bojer, that I’ve always liked, that kind of gets at the heart what this month has been like.
“If you came back, you wanted to leave again. If you went away, you longed to come back. Wherever you were, you could hear the call of the herdsman’s horn far away in the hills. You had one home out there and one over here and yet you were an alien in both places. Your true abiding place was the vision of something very far off, and your soul, like the waves, always restless and forever in motion”
You know in the Scriptures, leaving and coming home is a persistent theme. It is the concept behind Jesus’ most famous story, it’s what the Israelites pined for when they lost it, and celebrated when they had it. It’s in our bones, no matter who you are or where you are, we all want to go home.
But what has really been surprising to me is how much, in the middle of all our travel, Abilene has started to feel like our new home. I miss preaching at Highland, I miss lunches with the Highland Shepherds and members and working with my friends. I miss our new house and Moses (our Golden Retriever). And the more I read and prayed and studied about the new series’ for this next year, the more excited I was about getting back to start in a new season at Highland.
So thanks again Highland Shepherds for the Sabbatical. We’re glad to be coming home.