What is home?
Where is home?
Is home where you grew up? Is it where you went to elementary school or
What about college?
Or is it where you have started your family, got married and started having kids?
What about those in the military that have moved 12 times in 20 years?
One Spring day I was at a barn sale here in Cookeville, Tennessee where my wife and my 3 kids make our current home. As I was looking at all the trinkets and old barn wood cutouts of the state of Tennessee I thought, “man, those are cool, but I am not a “Tennessee Guy”, I am an Alabama Guy”.
After all, I lived in one home from the time I was 5 years old till I moved out at 18 and went to college at UAB, in Birmingham, Alabama.
My mom still lives in Hueytown and every time I go back, which is about 5-6 times a year, I take 2 of my 3 kids to do all the things I use to do like exploring a creek and walking through the woods and jumping fences we probably shouldn’t.
I drive by the High School Stadium where we went to the playoffs for the 1st time in 18 years, and drive by the old stadium where my dad coached at before I was born and was still coaching when I went off to college. I have tons of memories that come flooding back to my mind and I love thinking of all of them.
So is that home?
Or is college home? I made some of the best friends in my life in downtown Birmingham in that old apartment.
Or…Is it a combination of those 2 places?
I lived in Georgia for 2 years and made some great friends but really all I did was work.
I then got married to the greatest woman in the world and moved to North Carolina where I worked 100 hour weeks (Literally) and Jackie worked 70 hour weeks and we had no kids and drank Grape Kool Aid, ate Grilled Chicken and Krinkle Cut French Fries almost every night.
We were not there long before we were fired and HAD to move. SO we ended up in a little town in Tennessee called Cookeville. Many people wrongly pronounce it “Cooks-ville”. Why? I have no idea, but they do.
For the first 6 months we hated it. We had lived in a town of…
1 million people (Birmingham)
5 million people (Atlanta)
900,000 People (Raleigh)
to Cookeville Population 37,000 and 90 minutes from a mall with no more than an Old Navy and a Marshalls.
We were a young married couple making a whopping $25,000 a year plus tips from Jackie waiting table at Cheddars. We couldn’t find a church, had no friends and lived 4 hours away from all family. But as time went on we adjusted and started to like and in some ways love little ol’ Cookeville.
We had 3 kids, found a great church, and made friends that will some day carry our caskets down the aisle when we leave this life.
So, lets get back to the question at hand.
What is home?
Home is all of the things above. It’s the memories of playing sports as a kid, the church you were baptized in, the school you went to.
It’s the memories of you, your mom, and your dad at the ball park watching your sister play softball.
It’s seeing your dad with a broken nose because he decided to show me how to dive at the apartment pool. Never mind he is 6ft 6 inches tall.
It’s driving by the field where you spent 5 years of your life practicing football.
But it’s also the hospital where your first child was born., the house where your kids pulled sweet potatoes out of the back yard, and the stadium where you coached your first game as a full time college football coach. It’s the Gym where you and your wife spent hours training to compete, side by side, in the CrossFit Games. It’s driving by the house you walked around praying for your friends to get pregnant. It’s going to the swimming hole where your fearless 3-year-old wants to jump off the cliff with daddy.
So, for me to say that one is home and the other is not would be a travesty.
Home is the combination of all the greatest memories you have made. It’s where you played sports, learned about Jesus, and met your wife
It’s also the place where you quit your job because you knew you were made for something else. The place where your kids learned to ride their bikes and where you and your wife work through a doctor telling you your kid has a disease that only 3 in every 1 million kids ever get.
Will I ever leave the hills of Tennessee and go back to Sweet Home Alabama or go to another place the Lord will lead us?
I really don’t know. Only God knows. But I do know that for me and my house this is the best depiction of Home.