One Tree

I heard it said the other day that my generation doesn’t have that desire for a permanent place anymore. What “we” long for is transience. The freedom to come and go and go and come. Travel away and see the world and have no roots—just follow where the wind may lead. But whether I am a gen-z-er or millennial (conversation for another day), my instant thought was, “Oi, if that’s a fact, I don’t belong too well among my generation.” Granted, I, too, may not dream of owning or living in a house, but nothing sounds more maddening than being unfathomably adrift for the rest of my life. I want to belong. To have roots. And I think that’s all right. A single tree will not become a forest by running about and pausing for a bit on different places of the landscape (even if it could run about, I also can’t imagine it would grow). It takes root in one place, and other trees take root beside it and around it and beyond, and then—a forest.

Even if I know we ultimately spend our earthly lives ever Homesick, I still want that home away from Home. And right, I know that home is not the place per se. When I was a wee lass, as it were, home—as in, the house we lived in—never felt fully like home when dad was off on travels. How much rather would we have gone with him, yeah? And since my whole family and I moved from said house, the one where my brother and I both grew up, I never have missed it. Not for its own sake, at any rate—only the imprints that we left behind. The imprints of laughter and kisses and hugs and the lot. Because, like Victor Hugo said, “Woe, alas, to those who have loved only bodies, forms, appearances! Death will rob them of everything. Try to love souls, you will find them again” (emphasis mine).

But even to that end. One of the most brilliant bits of getting my own place was being able to create the space I had dreamed of for minutes and hours and years but hadn’t had a chance to do before. Colors, décor, textures. All the significantly insignificant details—down to the practical items, even. And it’s not just inhabiting a space that reflects its inhabitant(s)—it’s the fact of having the freedom to bring. others. in. It’s a bit hard—by which I mean, right hard—to be hospitable when you yourself feel like a guest somewhere. But there is something priceless in being able to have precious embodied souls over in your home whenever, having the space for relationship, not worrying about who we’re disrupting.

For such a time as this. You’ve likely heard those words coming from Todd these days. And what I think about in hearing them is that, of all the times I could’ve come to Willow Huntley, it was now—now, when its own longing is the one I understand too well in my own life. You can’t manufacture a drive like that for yourself. Only God.

But does it resonate with you, too? What did Todd’s announcement Sunday stir in you?