I finally learned how to play the game of Chickenfoot. It is a game played with dominoes. We played Chickenfoot while on a church retreat at Beersheba Springs Assembly up on the mountain top in Grundy County. The retreat was a wonderful time of Christian growth and fellowship for a group of folks from Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church.
In one of the sessions we each talked about the spiritual journey that brought us to the church. It was a blessing to hear each individual's story of faith and the path that led them to where they are today. We all shared several things in common: our faith in Christ, and the fact that we consider Mt. Lebanon to be our church home.
It's good to be home!
In one of the sessions, we were asked to name one simple pleasure we have in life. I immediately thought of my recliner sitting in my living room at home.
I have traveled a lot in the past year. I made two trips to North Dakota, two trips to the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona, two trips to Virginia and West Virginia, two trips to Beersheba Springs, a trip to Northern California, and numerous trips to Alabama.
I have seen a lot of beautiful country as I traveled across the nation, but each trip had this one thing in common: I really looked forward to getting home.
I remember Dolly Parton saying one time that she enjoyed traveling and touring, but she was always glad to get home. She said, "Home is where I can hang my wig!"
Home is where we know we belong, where we feel the most comfortable, where we can be ourselves, where we can "take the wig off" and just be who we are meant to be.
My bed at home is the most comfortable bed for me. It's not one of those fancy Sleep Number Beds or a Tempurpedic, but I lay just right in that bed next to my wife.
This year I have sat in a lot of different chairs, hard ones and soft ones, wooden rocking chairs and homemade benches, fancy cushioned wingbacks and metal folding chairs. But there is one chair that always calls my name: my old brown recliner at home.
It's good to be home!
One of the reasons for some of my travels this past year has been to attend funerals. My mother passed away in North Dakota this past year, my father-in-law passed away in Alabama this past spring, and one of my best friends passed away in West Virginia last month. And I went to say goodbye.
With each of them I had the privilege of seeing them one last time before they died and before the funeral. My mother was in the nursing home the last time I saw her, my father-in-law was in the hospital, and my friend was too. One thing they all said to me was that they wanted to go home.
When I was in Arizona last month, one of the young boys at the children's home I visited told me every time I saw him that he wanted to go home. He had been taken from his family by the authorities because of his parents' abuse, but he still wanted to go home. Even though his home life may have been dangerous, that boy still wanted to go home.
I remember Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" clicking her red heels together three times and saying, "There's no place like home; there's no place like home; there's no place like home."
Even though she was having a grand adventure in a magical land with all of her new "best friends," Dorothy longed to be back home. She longed for the familiar and the comfortable; where she could be herself, surrounded by her loved ones.
I love my home here in Shelbyville. I am comfortable in my bed and my recliner, but I know that there is a heavenly home awaiting me as well. One of these days, I'll rejoin my mother, my father-in-law, and my friend, and all my loved ones who have gone on before me, and I will finally know what "being at home" is really like.
One day, I will gladly proclaim, "It sure is good to be home!"
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.