The successful businessman married the peasant maid much to the disdain of his family and friends, and soon thereafter I was born. He passed five years later, which led my mom and I to leave the country and move to the U.S. Several years later, my mom married a man lacking the sophistication and charisma of my dad; soon, however, I begrudgingly had to admit that these two immigrants with third grade educations and no knowledge of English were pretty good at parenting.
However, they could not “hold a candle” to a teenager with vast “intellectual superiority,” knowledge of the language and widespread popularity like me. So one day he asked me to translate the mortgage deed to their humble Key West home. It took a while, and when I finished, he simply asked me if my name appeared on the document. Puzzled, I translated the instrument anew only to find that Omar was not included. Then, with both love and simplicity, he explained, “My son, if only your mother and I appear on the mortgage deed and you were left out, it simply means that this is our home, not yours; therefore, as long as you live here, you will do as we say. When you have your own home, you can act accordingly.” That day I kept the language and popularity but lost my “intellectual superiority.”
I was then blessed with a sports scholarship to a major university, and off I went to meet the world. However, after a few days in my new environment, I felt so depressed that I called my mom and insisted on returning home. She then advised me that I was free to return to town, but that I had no home there. My home was at school working towards a degree. It was a devastating moment. I hung up the phone and cried bitterly as I mourned the loss of my home. Unbeknownst to me, my mom was sobbing at the other end feeling the effect of doing the right thing.
In time I became a father, and soon my seven-year-old son played the “home card.” He informed me that “he could not take it anymore and was running away from home.” His decision was flawed since he made the statement in the absence of his mother, which gave me the opportunity to march him to his room to begin packing. I explained that his departure would upset his mother greatly; therefore, we would have to adopt a replacement. Given that we needed to make our new son comfortable in his new home, it was imperative that he take all the used and battered items, leaving the good stuff for the new arrival. His reaction was expected, so I had to physically remove him from the premises, after which he screamed and cried at the front door unwilling to surrender his status. The “unusual heat” the wife subsequently gave me was “worth the price of admission.” Little Derek got a lesson about the value of having a house.
But a house is not a home, and my first marriage failed on that premise. We were unequally yoked and all the counseling “could not put Humpty together again.” Our structure laid on a shaky foundation with us in the middle, which was a recipe for disaster. We sold the house, took our cut and moved on. Then I transitioned from a “crib” to a Christian home by marrying a wonderful woman who put me second…to God! What a blessing to live in a place where one receives exceptional second-hand love. We bought a home locally, and she decorated it to her liking, leaving me only the office. In time, we realized that the more we lived in it, the less possessive of it we became. The same happened with our Colorado cabin; we became caretakers of His properties, allowed to live in them. Home life improves when you personally know the Owner.
Sixteen years later, God called her home, leaving me on my own once again. He provided a young angel five years later who took the same house and made it a home by redecorating it and leaving me the office. Due to previous experience, we immediately surrendered ownership and became caretakers of all He gave us. There is a correlation between stuff and stress: increase in the former begets the latter. As Jim Elliot so pointedly explained, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” The Owner will be relocating us soon. In John 14:2 Jesus tells us that he is preparing a mansion for us in Heaven. After so much moving, I will finally get a permanent home…..hallelujah!!