Close to Home

Close to Home

I remember as a little girl running and playing in the yard, looking for four leaf clovers, searching for locust shells on the tree trunks, tying together flower necklaces, standing at the fence of the horse pasture basking in the whimsy of home.  It seemed larger than life.  It wasn’t much, but it was ours.  And I always knew that I was safe there—at home.

It’s a strange thing now to be living back on this same land, the land I grew up on so many years ago, and now have my boys run and play and enjoy the same simple magic of home.  There is nothing greater than watching them head out as a band of brothers on a grand adventure to see what they can see.

But we have one rule.  Don’t go past the trees. 

You see we have two giant oak trees that flank the sides of the driveway.  Each sits about forty or fifty feet back from the road.  So my one rule for the boys is that if they play in the front yard, they are to stay between the house and trees so they don’t go near the road. (Mind you, it’s a good football field’s worth of playing room, so plenty of space to run and play…)

When they were smaller, they always stayed near the house.  Riding along the sidewalk, running circles in the shop.  But this summer, something shifted.

They would run off, and I would shout behind them, “Don’t go past the trees!”

And in all of the space that they could run and play, in the grand expanse of lush grass calling to them between here and there, do you know where they have spent most of their time?

Circling the trees.  Sitting the three of them, just shy of the line.  Riding their bikes all the way down the drive way and making the loop around the large oaks.

What is it about our human nature that makes us want to sit so near to the boundary line?

I will never forget when I was in high school youth group.  One Wednesday night, we had a service where we talked about purity.  It was a question and answer session, nothing was off limits, and of course, one of the first questions to arise from a giggling boy in the back was, “How far is too far?”  The answer that my then-youth pastor gave has stuck with me for the decades that have since passed.

“Maybe instead of tiptoeing on the line, wondering ‘how far’ we can go…

Maybe just maybe we see that boundary line…

That point of no return…

That fence we like to sit on between right and wrong…

And instead of doing everything we can to get as close to the edge as possible without being wrong, we do everything we can to RUN in the opposite direction.  Toward what we know is safe and good.”

The thing about this principle is that is doesn’t just apply to purity.  Every single aspect of life can be viewed this way.  Instead of doing everything we can to just scrape by.  To get as close as we can to the edge without falling off.  To just maintain status quo or remain in the mundane…

Instead, when you see that boundary line, that point of no return, that fence between right and wrong… run home.

Here is what I know about home.  It’s safe here.  The closer my boys are to where I am, the easier it is to hear my voice when I call to them.  When they find themselves looking for water or a snack, I am right here to provide it for them.  They can come in quickly when it starts to rain or the sun beats down too hot.  When they fall and skin their knee, I am quick to their rescue and hear their cry.

But it’s a long walk back from the trees.  Sure, I’m always watching.  I can run to them if they need me there.  But home?  There’s nothing like being close to home…


It’s safe here at home.  All you need is here at home.  Jesus is waiting for you to come home…

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