Home is where you don’t have to care if you have morning hair.

Home is where you can slurp the last of your soda and suck every delicious drop of juice-running-down-your-elbows deliciousness out of a ripe nectarine.  Home is where you can wear your PJs all day long if you feel like it and still someone will grab your face between chubby, grimy hands and whisper straight into your eyes, “You so boo-di-ful mama.”

Home is where the collection of clothes on the floor testify to a weekend thoroughly seized – the swimsuits, muddy shoes, hats, cowboy boots, fireman suits, and church shirts. Home is where grilled cheese sandwiches are relished over conversations about who has the stinkiest, well – anything- and who was the leader in the walk back from the pool.

Home is a bed with deep imprints on either side that tell the story of a decade and then some of two who became three and then four. Home is hide-and-seek with kids under bed sheets and boys who can’t understand why their parents aren’t game for riding bucking broncos at seven am on a Sunday.

Home is long-distance calls that after a decade of living overseas still come in now and again at 3am. Home is a collection of accents and Gumboot dancing sandwiched in between baseball and all sports Detroit. Home is the crook between chubby neck and chubby shoulder of a chubby two-and-a half year old who smells of Doritos and milk.

Home is a pile of potty-training-stained sheets.

Home is hunting stories told to wide-eyed five year olds of nights in the Baobab bush on the edge of the Limpopo river. Home is where lions, buffalo and kudu are par for the course but my kids think The Chipmunks are too scary by far. Home is odd snacks at odder hours still and the pillow that’s been with me since before I can remember buying it.

Home is two boys and the man that gave them to me.

I carry my home in my heart. I carry my home buried deep, deep in the wrinkles I’ve earned and the memories I’ve been storing up all weekend. Like the slow, deliberate tortoise, I carry my home with me. On my back, in my heart, cupped in these words.

And tomorrow I take flight with this team to go and be guests in someone else’s country, community and home. To learn what makes them laugh and where they live and what stories they treasure in their hearts. To share food and faith and look deep into each other’s eyes and discover through the grime and accents and distances that we are all beautiful.

Sibahle.

The Zulu word from my South African home recognizing a common beauty that we share. The beauty that I believe binds us together – morning hair, houses in disarray, finances that dribble through our fingers, or kids we wish we were somehow raising better.

We are all beautiful. We are all beautiful

for in the image of God
has God made man. Genesis 9:6.

Will you travel with me tomorrow as I leave one home for another? As I go with Compassion International to visit a place where God has long been at home and will reside long after I leave?

Tomorrow I go to Guatemala and I take my home with me. Won’t you come – and bring yours too?

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