I have two puppies (1.5 years old, different litters). Both adopted, and we are their “forever home.” Since birth, they have been moved five times. Talk about instability!
We do let them sleep with us. Some nights, things work out fine, but recently the eldest seems to want to be “ in touch” with me. Not just beside me, but sometimes it feels like an attempt to crawl back into a safe space that he will never have to leave again. It’s pretty tough to turn over, and sleeping doesn’t always come easily. His name is Charley, the name he came with, and his joy is complete when he can get close enough to give me a few licks on the face!
The other puppy, Casey, is content to sleep next to me, but he somehow manages to lay his head on my leg…just in case. Whenever I approach him, he instantly rolls over. I’m still not sure if it’s a submissive move or one that says, “S-C-R-A-A-ACH! Please!” He doesn’t always come when I call him, but when I begin singing “Casey, Casey, give me your answer do, I’m half crazy all for the love of you…(sung to the tune of “Daisy, Daisy, a song from my parents’ era), he wobbles over, and, you guessed it, rolls over.
After giving it some thought, I, too, have moved five times--first home I was born in (19 years), this home to a new home with my husband (my grandparents’ old house)(2 years), then to KY (2 years), KY to CA (9 years) and CA back to the home I was born in (parents moved to FL and are now deceased) (39 years). Full circle!
And then there are my seasons of life: Being born and living at home (18 years);being married (50 years and counting);raising children/family business (22 years);entering a new and joyful career (19 years); retirement and living a slower pace…where I get to choose how and where and when I do what I do! A cousin of mine said recently, “If I don’t finish a task on my list, I can move it to tomorrow, or next week or next month, or next year or never! I get to decide!
Do I see my life as being unstable? Well, yes and no. I moved or was uprooted several times, and in the back of my mind, I always wondered if this place was “it.” Would this be my “forever home?” Would this be my forever season (well, no!)? I wouldn’t always be raising children (or would I? as some of my friends would admit!) Would I always be settled in a career that I loved? Not necessarily. For now, I write, do some spiritual directing (counseling) and facilitate small groups at my church.
Is there anything or anyone stable at all? Well, yes! Do I even have a “forever home?” Yes, indeed! The God who made me and who has walked with me all of these years has been a constant, never changing, always listening to my excitement, disappointment, anger and joy. A living, loving ROCK.
Do I ever feel God’s absence? Yes. Or perhaps it is more of a silence, not an absence. Those are the times when I am nudged to grow into someone whose faith is not dependent on circumstances. Those are times of deepening trust, even when I fight against trusting even more. And, like Charley, those are times when I try to get as close as I can get to my “forever home" and the One who takes care of me. Thank goodness, God has no need of sleep! God would be buried with those needing presence, clinging so tightly to him that he wouldn’t be able to move, let alone roll over!
How God invites the constant circling to get comfortable in his presence! How God yearns for our rolling over at his feet, surrendering ourselves to his compassion, his arms as a kind of oasis from the pulls of life and his gift of “tummy-scratching” when we most need it.
The mystery of that kind of love is unfathomable. And we were never meant to fully understand it. Yet, that love surrounded me through all of the years of moving, trying to find that “forever home"…through all of the seasons of my life as I stumbled and fumbled through all kinds of circumstances that I, at first, found quite foreign. Never did I expect what I received--the sorrows AND the joys. I’m sure you feel quite the same. Back then, I don’t know if I realized what a “forever home” even looked like! Now I do. No more seeking. No more struggling (well, not as often!).