Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Several years ago renowned psychologist and author Dr. James Dobson wrote a book titled “Turn Your Heart Towards Home”. I believe I quoted it correctly. If I can recall well, in the book he admonishes parents, and really people in general to return to what is most important in life, and that is family. He demonstrates through scripture, science, and his years as a counselor, husband and parent that the home is not only the foundation of the family, but of society, and when neglected the entire world suffers and manifests this neglect, one person at a time, but simultaneously.

I’ve been blessed to be born into a very large family and to have cousins galore, some I have yet to meet, but who have contacted me through Facebook. Wow! J I also have yet to be blessed to have a family of my own, something that is very important to me and the desire for which nearly consumed me several years ago. Raising children is not easy. It’s not supposed to be. Neither is being a parent or a child, but we’ve been given the blessing, responsibility and power, desire and drive to propagate the human race through families and within this phenomenon is the nature of God to raise families. It is the most natural and supernatural thing to do.

I started reading the Bible when I was in the third or fourth grade and in Sunday School, Vacation Bible Schools, Youth Conferences and more we participated in Bible Bowls and many other contests to test our growing knowledge of God through the Bible. Because no one wanted to be on the losing team, the anticipation of these large gatherings and contests motivated us to read and memorize scriptures and to conduct contests not just in our local churches, but also sometimes at home. We also played other games like “Clue”, “Uno”, “Go to The Head of The Class”, “Monopoly”, “Dominoes”, “Triominoes” and “Quadrominoes”, “Checkers”. And then my Uncle Lindsey taught me to play “Chess”. That’s when I thought I was smarter than all the other kids my age because I had learned to play (I did not say win yet) the hardest game man has ever devised. LOL!! But anyhooo, one of those Bible verses says “Whatsoever a man (or woman) thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Very interesting, for as a young person I did not understand Bible lingo, but I read it anyway and I tried to make it work in my life to the best of my young ability. I did not know that the heart had a mind and could think. Anyhoooo again, times playing those games around the table with my brothers and parents and other family members were special because we all had our own minds and desires. There were so many of us that it was rare to get us all together at the same time, so when it did happen, I for one did not want it to end. But all good things must eventually come to an end. I just wish that were not so. We also played baseball, kickball, “Red Light, Green Light, One Two Three”, “Simon Says” (and sometimes he didn’t say anything worth hearing or doing), “Jack Rocks”, wrestling, and football in the house when THEY (not me) were not supposed to. ;-) When you think about it, in their own way each game and activity brought us face to face with each other, and sometimes we laughed, other times we were angry and fighting and crying tears over who was right or wrong, or who got injured. But we were still family, and we always came back home.

These are the things going through my heart now during this season of my life. What are the thoughts running through your heart now? What memories, desires, wishes, dreams, goals? Who continues to “live” inside your heart affecting your sleep, habits, decisions, choices, and peace? Not only is home where the heart is, but our heart is home to something(s), and someone(s). J And because they are there, consciously and subconsciously they’re playing a big part in everything we do. This is why it is important for us to know the thoughts of our hearts. What’s happening in that part of ourselves. Who is “living” there. Hmmmm.

Back in the the 70’s (that’s as far back as I can remember. LOL!!) I recall a groovin’ song we loved called “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”. And the hook said: “Papa was a rolling stone, wherever he laid his hat was his home.” Now I cannot speak for the adults in my life at that time nor my siblings and cousins who also enjoyed this song, but I recall trying to understand the lyrics which has taken me a long time to do. But anyhooo, I tried to envision a man as a rolling stone. LOL! I was too young to understand what that meant, but now I do, and I see that wherever this “Papa” took off his hat became the place where he “laid” his head and wherever he laid his head became his home, for however long he could exist at that place. In a sense, he was never "Homeless". Now if my interpretation is off or wrong, you can respond below with the correct one or your version of it, but right now this is mine.

You knew that I was eventually going to get analytical about this so here goes. The purpose of a hat is to make you look chic, classy, sexy maybe. Okay, that’s the definition of vanity. LOL! Hats are designed to keep our heads warm in the winter and to shade our eyes from the sunshine in the summer, and they also have logos and designs which describe our beliefs, our teams, parts of our personalities, etc. In other words, a hat can reveal our thoughts. J They are good conversational pieces which can reveal much about a person once you engage him or her in conversation, just about the hat. People do this with dogs and cats, hair styles, clothing, and don’t forget SHOES!! Now you’re walking on my side of the street.

God told the Israelites in the Old Testament (and then again in the New Testament) to be careful what they “put before their eyes” and to be careful what they “listened to with their ears” because these are the gateways to the soul and the heart – the spirit of a person. The things we hear and see affect and shape what we will think, say and do whether we mean to do these things or not. The heart is like a sponge and it can absorb anything, so we must protect it. Now I’m not talking about the physical heart, even though we must protect that too (and it also absorbs whatever we take into our bodies), but the spiritual heart where our affections, love, our desires and will reside. Pain and pleasure shape and affect the condition of our hearts and we must learn how to deal with them adequately so they do not drive and control us.

What’s a girl (and a guy) to do? Well, the best Person for me to consult when I don’t know something is the Lord Himself, and through the pen of King Solomon in Proverbs 4:23 we are told “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” (Amplified) Well, even though I’ve been reading this for many years, I did not always do what it said because I either didn’t remember it, or I just didn’t know it, or I just wanted to see and hear what I wanted to see and hear, just like everybody else. So I continued to watch scary movies like “Carrie”, “Halloween” I,II, III, etc., “Amityville Horror”, “Exorcist”, “The Omen”, and more. I would sneak and watch them as a child when the adults were watching them, when we children should be asleep. I would stand outside the door and peep around the doorjamb as they watched “Rosemary’s Baby”. Ooooh!!! Then I would have horrible dreams at night and wake up crying or screaming, all because I did not guard my heart by guarding my eyes and ears. These images would haunt me throughout the day too for they had made an impression in my mind. I did not learn how to chase them from my mind for many years, but in the interim I would read novels by Barbara Cartland and Harlequin Romance. For a while these stories would intercept the scary movie images, but still they were not “true” or real for me, just a nicer fantasy.

Philippians 4:8 (Amplified) says, “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and is winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” So now I know what to do with the thoughts of my heart because I know who lives there. My heart, Christ’s home. It is not always easy to keep out thoughts that don’t fit the above descriptions, but it does mean we have help in guarding our hearts so we can be healthy, wealthy and wise, spirit, soul and body.