You get a lot of paradoxes when you hang out with someone like me. I'm a homebody, and I'm a nomad. I'm a Christian and yet I'm sure that I don't have all the answers... at all. I'm ready for a challenge, and I dig my heels in, often, and hold back. What can I say? This is how it is when you're growing and changing and yet you are human- and therefore you hold to old patterns, though you say you don't want to.
The biggest of ironies in my life is that I've moved so many times. I was- and still am- the biggest homebody. Growing up, I loved being home, upstairs in my room, reading book after book, and dreaming of travels and adventures and life in an English boarding school. (For some reason the fascination with the English started early in my life. The obsession with tea time and old china came later in my twenties).
My Mom was my biggest comfort and my constant companion. I loved being home with her. Home was home base- and I rarely traveled out from home base unless I was pushed. Good ole Dad had to do that for me: encourage me as I contemplated going off to college, and push me out of the nest to go off to Spain and travels through Europe when I was 20 years old (almost chickened out and didn't go- but Dad told me I did want to go, and so I did. What an adventure and experience that was!).
Then I married a man who took different pastorates all over New England (those were small moves, in my mind) and then got into house remodeling- and that's when I experienced even more moving around. Yes it got wearying and stressful, but it was also exhilarating- the experience of transforming a house, moving in, moving out, moving onward. You just never knew what you'd be experiencing next. That was my life. That is my life.
I'm still a homebody. And I'm still a nomad- a rather reluctant one, but I sometimes forget that. I've got Adventure in my blood, now. I've got a bit more courage to work with, and a sense that things are not supposed to be staid and even and routine. God doesn't have a staid bone in His body! (metaphorically speaking) so why should I?
I can sound confident, but I am still just a little sparrow, hanging around close to Home. Thankfully Home is where God's heart beats and His embrace is felt- and that means Home can be just about anywhere. "Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God"(Ps 84).
I always wondered why sparrows, in particular, were referenced in this verse. So I looked up the history and habitat of sparrows and found out that there are all kinds of sparows. There's the House Sparrow, the Song Sparrow, the Chipping Sparrow.... Sparrows are the most familiar, of birds, and they're primarily seed-eaters. Some do scavenge for food and as Wikipedia cites, they "will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities".
That's how I try to handle the changes in my life that come from moving onward. I try to only gulp down a bit at a time and I stay under God's comforting guiding hand while doing so. The biggest assurance I have is that God knows I can't handle a lot of change and stress without constant reassurance and lots of love that only comes when you're home based.
Look at this Scripture passage in another version and see how the underlying references to Home and Travel and pilgrimage come alive:
1-2 What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! I've always longed to live in a place like this, Always dreamed of a room in your house,
where I could sing for joy to God-alive!
3-4 Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!
5-7 And how blessed all those in whom you live,
whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!
If it's true that God travels these roads ahead of us and points out the surprising cool springs that spring up at the end of a dusty trail, then though it can often feel like I'm a nomad going through a desert, I am, in fact, as safe as a Homebody who has never left Home. God's with me. How blessed are "all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel".
So it's Onward and Upward. It's traveling out into the unknown- and yet never leaving Home. I like that.
I guess you could call me a brave wandering nomad and a happy little sparrow, all at the same time.