It has, yet again, been a while since I last posted—I’m sorry, dear readers! But I’ve been in New Mexico, the land of the setting for my novel, and one deeply imbedded in my heart. It’s strange, how a place where I’ve lived only five years of my life became so much home that this morning back in California, glad as I am to be reunited with my beloved family, tears came to my eyes for the missing of it, for the alfalfa fields and mesas and skies that take breath away—skies I tried and failed to capture on camera, and thought I’d remembered the magnificence of, but didn’t. The sunsets, the thunderstorms, the pristine piling of the clouds, the awesome expanse of them—one can only grasp New Mexico skies by being there.
And the friends—it had been five years since I’d been back, and some who were little boys and girls now towered over me or have blossomed into young women. I knew how precious these friends were, how they’d truly been our family in the years we lived in the northwest corner of this state. But staying in their home again, staying up late catching up on each other’s burdens and joys, living life together again even a little, renewed those bonds such that my tears this morning were for missing them too.
So much was so familiar—navigating the highways and dirt lanes and turn-offs came back more quickly than I expected, though I’d only learned to drive there a few months before we moved away. And so much I’d forgotten, yet had sharply renewed—memories flooding back with the cooling scent of a swamp cooler or the ripe one of a buck goat, the bleating of kids in the neighboring pasture or grinding motor of a tractor cutting hay, the prickling skin of a fresh-picked zucchini or the bite of ants on my feet, quickly reminding me why I always used to wear tennis shoes and socks for taking walks on dirt roads, never city sandals.
The stillness, the space, the lack of neighbor noise save for dogs, roosters, horses, and goats. The incredible darkness at night, away from city lights. The stars.
I will write more later, about what I learned, the research I did, the people I met, God’s faithfulness in guiding my steps. But for today, I just want to pause and be thankful I got to go “home.” It is not an idyllic place, however my memories tend to paint it so—I was reminded of the heartache and sin and problems that dog us in this fallen world, here, there, and everywhere. Yet this corner of the earth still holds a place in my family’s hearts I think nowhere else will ever have. When we went back to visit for the first time five years ago, my then eleven-year-old sister exclaimed as the terrain began to turn familiar, “It’s like we used to be in Narnia, and then we had to go back in the real world, but we’ve found our way back into Narnia again!” And I know what she means—there is something of that wonder and joy of the Pevensie children in Prince Caspian, to be back.
Surely, though, it is only the tiniest, imperfect taste of what we will know when we are truly homesomeday—with Jesus in that Place that we are truly made for, where all the longings and aches of our hearts will at last be satisfied deep down. That Place He has gone ahead to prepare for us. There, once and for all, we will really be home.