I love going home. Who doesn't? Well, actually I know a few. But I am among the many who love going home. There are certain smells that remind me of home -- the smell of dirt and grass, blooming flowers, and our maple trees -- Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion and sandy beach towels -- even Dad's old paint van that still wreaks of lingering toxic fumes, I'm sure -- they all float around me in the thick Michigan air, and I feel at home. I love home. I would have no problem buying my parents home from them and settling down there myself. In my dream world, that would be pretty fantastic -- though my dreams also involve a little remodeling, but that's another story.
As our plane landed in Michigan, I had no idea I would have some of the feelings that overwhelmed me while there. I know I love home, but I had no idea that I would crave it. Even being there, it's as if I couldn't get enough. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the time we had to create new memories, I was flooded with memories of when I was but a wee lass.
On our second day, I took Samantha and Callie for a walk through the subdivision. I walked down our long driveway and turned left, headed toward Oakleaf. As I approached Elder, I saw the house that had long struck fear into the depths of my soul. As a girl, this house, sitting on the corner, was dreadfully scary. In my memory, I recall this corner house being protected by a perimeter of overgrown trees and bushes. However, you could see glimpses of the house through the growth. The house was, and remains, gray. I lived in an older neighborhood, and many of the homes have been updated. This home remained one of the older styles. There was always an ominous feel about this corner house. I never saw a soul walk in or out. It was as if Westacres had it's own Boo Radley.
Today, the home looks quite nice. The lawn is nicely manicured and the trees are beautifully placed. Though the house is the same gray, there is a brightness to it that it lacked in my younger years. I took note of this, remembering how terrified I used to be of that house and wondered if my memories were falty, or if I had just always had a distorted view of this home. Was I afraid of this home because of an overly active imagination? Because after all, this is somebody's home. Somebody's home who loves the smells of home -- just like me.
It seems to me that most all of us have a Boo Radley in our neighborhoods. And if he's not in our neighborhoods, he's at the park, or he's in our school. When we see "him," or his "home," we get an inner warning telling us that it's bad or scary. Sometimes this may be right. But sometimes we are just being ignorant and mean.
I'm not sure how to find the proper balance. There are some things that I can tell the Spirit is trying to tell me -- to warn me. But when it comes to situations like this...what if Scout had always followed her "gut" or the feeling she had about Boo being strange. Instead, she investigated and found out that he was actually a really good guy. What if I neglect an opportunity to serve, or make a friend, based on a silly preconceived notion in my mind about someone? And how do I know it's just a silly preconceived notion in my mind, or a serious prompting to avoid a person or place? I want to be a good person, but I always want to remain safe, and keep my family safe.
It's just so complicated.
I am happy to report, though, that I am no longer afraid of the house on the corner. I'm feeling good about saying that I truly believe that those who live there are good people -- and I'm rather confident in saying that the people who lived there while I was growing up are/were good people too ... they just didn't take care of the lawn so well I suppose.