It was quite a week-end. I was incredibly busy. For starters, it was parent’s week-end at Butler University and while our children are long out of college, our niece Emily is a freshman there. So we have tried to help her get accustomed to Indianapolis and take her to church and out to dinner as often as her schedule permits.
Since the weather was lousy and there really wasn’t too much that Emily wanted to do at school, we made arrangements for her to join us on Saturday. Janet and I went down to pick her up and she returned to Carmel with us. I think that the kids like to come to a regular house once in a while as it gives them a chance to do laundry and have a little semblance of a normal home life.
On Sunday, I had already committed to entertain guests at the Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium, so I couldn’t spend too much time with Emily. I left home a little after 10:00 am to get to the rendezvous spot to join my guests. As the cafeteria is one of the sponsors of the Colts, in fact, we are the official caterers for the organization, we had wonderful seats and special passes that allowed us access to the field for all the pre-game warm up activities. Once the game was getting read to start, we moved to our seats and I received a text from the Indy Star Newspaper.
It stated that there was an armed gunman in the vicinity of Butler University and people were advised to stay away from the area. This was really a concern for me as Janet was driving Emily back to school for an afternoon tour of the sorority houses and I couldn’t help but think that their safety was in jeopardy. What’s the chance of something like this happening? Of course, neither Emily nor Janet responded to my calls or texts to warn them, but apparently, Butler went through a lock-down and nobody was allowed to either enter or leave the campus. But that didn’t alleviate my concerns for their safety.
Once I knew that they were safe and had returned to Carmel, I was able to relax and enjoy the game. I couldn’t believe the number of rookies and players who were in Indy for the first time in their football careers. I thought about all of the new homes and routines that these young players had to adjust to, just as Emily has had to adjust to life on a college campus. This is a little difficult for me to understand, as my parents couldn’t afford for me to stay at school so I was a commuter. I never have spent a night in a dorm room so I can’t speak from experience.
Anyway, I returned back home around 7:00 pm with a pizza in hand to feed us. Janet had promised Emily that we would take her back to school after dinner, as the lock-down had been lifted at Butler. During dinner, with the three of us, it struck me how much our lives had changed since our own children were in college – especially the girls. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed having the kids in the house; and now here was the chance to open our home once again – this time to Emily. And to think that she is only a freshman – that means we get to have her around for 3-1/2 more years, at least.
Now I know that she misses her family back in Williamsburg, but at least there is family here. And that means that she doesn’t have to be alone in some strange city. After dinner, I watched her load the dishwasher, put the placemats away and help clean up before the ride back to school. You can tell when somebody is making the transition to being comfortable rather than just visiting someone else’s home. And it seems to me that Emily is making our home her home – and that’s just what we wanted.
You know – when you don’t have to ask to get a glass of milk or to use the washer… when you know where all the food is, how to navigate the kitchen, you have your own room and can take care of your own needs. It’s not that we wouldn’t gladly do all this, but it is my fondest hope that Emily will feel welcome as a part of our family – not as a guest, but as someone who “lives” here. And that means that she needs the freedom to find her own rhythm in the scheme of things around here. That’s probably the best compliment that she could pay us – that she feels welcome and loved…
The verse for this evening is a very short one – from the Gospel of John. In John 7:53, the disciple whom Jesus loved simply tells us, “Then each went to his own home.” That’s our fondest wish for Emily – that she knows that she has a home here, as well as her home back in Williamsburg. Because home is where the heart is…
My encouragement this evening is that you remember that there are multitudes of people who are “homeless.” What I mean by this is that they aren’t connected by love or familiarity to any particular place. My prayer is that your house can become a home to somebody who may need to “feel the love.” God is using our home for that purpose – I pray the same for you. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…