They (you know, that infamous “they”) say that “home is where the heart is”–in other words, “. . . your true home is with the person or in the place that you love most” (quote source here).
Well, I’ve lived in so many places in my life that my home is not really a physical location. Oh, I’ve had my favorites (Florida being one of them), but I have liked something about every place I have ever lived whether my circumstances were good, bad, or indifferent.
For those of you who have read my most recent posts, my trip to Houston ended yesterday when the weekly rate on my hotel room ended and around 2:00 p.m. I hit the road back to Florida as I knew Houston was not meant to be for the second time in my life (the first time I lost the job I went there for which has lead into this very long time of unemployment). I drove straight through arriving 18 hours later at my little seasonal rental in Florida in a town where I’ve been living for three years now at the end of this month. But I have returned with more hope then when I left.
For the past year or so I have had such a longing to return to Houston to see if it might work out (since it didn’t the first time), hoping that a dream I had left behind there over three years ago might actually come to fruition. Well, while that dream has obviously died (over the past few months I thought it had but I wasn’t sure), a new one was born and it was a total surprise to me. I was drawn to go back to Houston for something I didn’t know existed until I arrived. I had my hopes set on one thing (but when the object of that hope showed no interest after three and a half years it’s time to give it up, right?) and found my hope in a chance meeting with someone else.
That chance meeting took place at the Red Roof Inn near Katy, TX, (a suburb of Houston) that first night after I arrived when I met “Red” and his adult daughter (see my post, “Rock Steady,” for details). And I just can’t get him out of my mind. Granted, he has no contact information on me nor do I have any on him. I’m not even sure that we exchanged names (at the time of our meeting I had been awake 36+ hours after driving 17 of them straight through to get to Houston). And it wasn’t until two days later when I was in Galveston that I woke up that morning with a very strong impression of him on my mind, and I felt a bit of remorse that I didn’t give his daughter my cell phone number. I can’t recall another time in my life when such a brief meeting as ours has left such a hold on me that I can’t shake.
I truly believe that nothing happens by chance. Nothing. That’s because I believe in the sovereignty of God. Here’s a brief definition of what this means: “Sovereignty means that God, as the ruler of the Universe, has the right to do whatever he wants. Furthermore, He is in complete control over everything that happens” (quote source here). And that includes everything we humans choose to do (right or wrong). It’s not that we don’t make our own choices and then have to live with them (we do), but God ultimately knows what we will do ahead of time and nothing takes Him by surprise. After all, He is the Creator and we are His creation. Nothing escapes His control. Nothing . . . . And the Bible is filled with examples of His sovereignty.
With that being said, I know that my “chance” meeting with “Red” and his daughter was not chance at all. It was by design. And the real purpose of that chance meeting is up to God–for His purposes. And that doesn’t mean we are robots in His hands. No . . . He allows us to have free will to do what we want (hence, we are not robots), and that includes whether or not we even wish to believe that His exists. I do believe that His exists and that He is sovereign and that He is the Creator and we are the created. I do believe He has ultimate control over this universe and that includes us.
Getting back to the original theme of this post (home is where the heart is), I have carried my heart with me everywhere I go because my heart is with people and not so much places. And people are everywhere . . . . I love engaging people in conversation from all walks and stations in life and that included my short visit to Houston, and not just with “Red” and his daughter, but with my friend and her husband; with the people at the front counter of all three of the hotels I stayed in during my trip; with the checkout lady at Walmart; the bookstore personnel in the three bookstores I visited; the staff working in the bank I do business with; the people buying groceries at the store next to my hotel in Galveston; and many others. I don’t know a stranger and I’ll talk with anyone. I want to know about them.
Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG) states:
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a great way to live, and the only way to live that way is to trust in God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and let Him lead the way.
One of the hard lessons I’ve learned over these past four years since moving to Houston for a job near the end of September 2008 and losing that job seven months later that has lead to these three and a half years of unemployment is that it’s futile to wait for someone when the object of your “waiting” gives you no good reason to wait. I did that and I have been vastly disappointed. And I brought it on myself because I thought that person cared more than he obviously did. In fact, he didn’t care and he moved on and I was stuck on hold and still unemployed after all this time. But God in His sovereignty knew this all along, and He was waiting for me to realize it, too. And I finally did.
And now I’ve had a chance encounter with “Red” in Houston of all places–a place where neither of us live (he lives in Louisiana and I live in Florida). There was a connection, a chemistry (much like the person I described above who eventually lost interest in me). It’s not that I plan to make the same mistake I did with the person described above, after all, I have no contact information on “Red” nor does he have any contact information on me (whereas the person mentioned above knew how to contact me); but I will be interested in seeing if God ever brings our paths together again. In the meantime, I’ll keep on looking for that elusive job and talking with people who cross my path.
I am reminded of a few verses in Jeremiah 29:11-14a:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
We need to call upon Him, and pray to Him, and seek Him with all of our heart, and He will listen and make Himself known to us. What a promise! He knows the plans He has for us in every area of our lives, including those people He places in our path. And He will lead us when we seek Him with all of our heart . . .
And that’s His promise to us . . .
What a promise it is, too . . . .
YouTube Video: “Home Is Where The Heart Is” by Lady Antebellum:
Photo credit here