There’s No Place Like Home (Truly)

To be honest, I couldn’t quite figure out what to write about for you guys. At first I started writing about Star Wars, but the further I got into it, the more it became just my opinion on the movie and it had nothing to do with anything. So instead I thought about what most of us have in common right now: we’re at home.

I’ve been home for 10 days now, which is longer than I’ve been home in over a year, and it’s been everything I hoped it would be: I’ve been eating free food, I’ve spent time with my brothers and sister, I went on walks with my dog, I read until ran out of books, I watched at least a million movies, and boy did I sleep. I’m on a break and I’m doing all of the things I love, probably like you guys are doing right now, too. I’m finding though as I reflect on my time home, that I’m leaving unfulfilled. I’m leaving sad, and anxious, and distant from myself, which is how I felt when I left the city.

I keep wondering why being home, a place I associate with my family, my childhood best friend, and sleep, is leaving me feeling so unhappy and so estranged from myself. When I came home I think I expected life to miraculously get better, and having time away to rest would solve all of my issues. Home to me feels like this magical place where I can escape almost everything, and I knew all along that that was incorrect, but now I’m feeling the weight of it. When I was trying to figure out what to write about Mike directed me to Revelation 21 for God’s version of “being home”, and it reads this:

3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

5He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

-Revelation 21: 3-5

I don’t know about you, but this is not what I think about when I think about home. God makes it pretty clear though that the definition of home is not necessarily family, or childhood friends, or sleep. Home is God in all his glory. We go home the day God makes all things new. Home is being with God fully. The quote is right, there really is no place like home. And while we’re not going to be with God fully until Jesus comes back, there’s still a way to feel at home here on Earth, which I think is where we hold a great deal of responsibility. I think the only way we can start to feel anything close to our heavenly home is by spending time with God.

Even though I love being home, I’m not leaving feeling refreshed and new, because this time I failed to spend time with God. To be perfectly honest, I had 10 days of nothing to do, and I spent it on doing everything except spending it with God. I wasted my break, and I’m sure some of you are, too. While you’re home spend time with your family, eat, sleep, read, but do it all after you spend time getting to know God and your eternal home.

You have an entire month to get to know God and feel at home, so please use it. I don’t have anything profound to end, but I will tell you to not be like me when you’re home (I feel like most of my advice to you guys is to not be like me, but as long as we’re learning, I’ll take it).


A Blog About Doors

This week I have been blessed to spend time with my friends and family.  One story that was shared with me this week I would also like to share with you:

The week I was born, an announcement was made at church that Linda and Doug were at home with newly born twin boys.  Patt Spidel – a fellow member of this congregation – could barely contain her excitement when she heard the news!  Given Patt’s excitement, her husband Norm drove straight to our house after church to stop by and see us.

In retrospect, what follows is just too funny!  Patt was so upset with Norm for driving to our house that day.  Patt told me, “You don’t just drop by unannounced on a woman who just had a baby (let alone two babies)!”  Patt was angry and embarrassed but there wasn’t much she could do.  Norm was determined to stop by our house, and before she knew it, Norm had gotten out of the car and rang our doorbell.  My mother came to the door and invited Norm and Patt to come inside.

None of us knew at that moment, but all of our lives would significantly change from that day forward.  Beginning that week, Patt watched over me and my brother while my parents worked until my first day of kindergarten.   Once we stated school, Patt would take care of us every summer.  When our family moved to Michigan, Patt would travel with us to help our family move in and get settled.  Currently, Patt helps take care of my grandparents daily in their old age.  Patt even continues to support me individually as the second largest financial supporter of my ministry here at Loyola.  If I could bestow the title of superwoman to a single individual, that person would hands down be Patt Spidel.

Patt has been such a blessing to me and my entire family and I am so grateful to God for her constant love and support.  I am so grateful that even though it may not have been polite just to drop by our house unannounced that Patt and Norm stopped by anyhow.  This is encouraging to me because I can always come up with excuses not to do something.  There are reasons why I haven’t asked the young woman I admire out on a date, reasons why I haven’t yet applied to seminary, reasons why I haven’t read my Bible as often as I should, and the list goes on…

I think that sometimes (maybe most all the time) God is waiting on us to be bold and chase after the desires of our heart.  If you really want to take care of twin boys, go and ring their doorbell before somebody else does.  Maybe that’s rude, maybe that’s crazy, but maybe God will answer your prayer because of your boldness (See Matthew 8:5-13)?   And maybe if you struggle being bold, God will send a friend, a stranger, or an angel that will go ahead of you and ring that doorbell anyhow?  Regardless of who rings the doorbell, I believe it’s up to all of us to decide whether or not we walk through the door that God has called us to walk through.   I’m thankful for Norm who rang my parent’s doorbell and also for Patt who walked through our door.  I pray that I would have the boldness to walk through the doors that God has placed before me.  I pray that you would have the courage to step through the doors that God has placed before you.  And I also pray for boldness in knocking on doors on behalf of our neighbors; that we would come and walk alongside them, and that we might witness to them as they unlock the doors that God has called them to open.

-Alec Kenny


Talk Into the Phone #5: How to Get the Small Group You’ve Always Wanted

sarah h


Sarah, say you write a Thanksgiving Carol. What would it be called, and why?

It’d be called Merry Turk ‘n’ Holidays because it embodies everything I love about the holidays: food, being merry, and…the holidays.

How did you find Agape/Ecclesia?

I feel like there were all these infamous e-mails that summer (before freshman year) and I never got them.

Did you register as Catholic?

Maybe! I probably did to increase my chances of getting in, so I probably would have used that to my advantage since I didn’t have a lot else going for me as a white girl. White girls at Loyola are pretty rare…Oh! But I was coming off of a summer at a Baptist Christian camp and I knew I wanted to find a community so I searched and searched for one and I visited and went up to Mike and was like “Mike! What do I have to do to serve in this ministry?” and ever since then I’ve been here. Alex and I used to go together. It’s a very cute story.

Did y’all start going together?

I think I found Agape but we lived on Regis’ fourth floor together, and Agape used to be in the Galvin auditorium. So we’d sit in the back, and whenever they’d count us off for groups, without fail for at least the first semester, Alex and I would go into Kelly’s group. We never went with our numbers, we always went to Kelly’s group!

Kelly Clark?

Mm-hmm. She claims she never noticed.

What draws you into the community?

I just feel the presence of God in our community. This is the first church that I’ve actually been a part of and led in where I feel and see the presence of God more than talk about the presence of God. That’s what keeps me coming back first and foremost, but now all my favorite people are there so that helps.

Why are you a Christian?

I’m a Christian because I’ve experienced and felt the love of God, and after knowing that- feeling the love and forgiveness, I can’t go back to not believing that or not having that. I stay a Christian because I know that my life is better with God in it.

What draws you to Jesus?

My inability to make any sort of decisions and the fact that it’s not my decision and it’s not my plan; no matter what I say or do, God’s plan is gonna happen so I’d rather stay on the bandwagon.

What does the church need?

I’m really appreciating our re-focus on God. As freshmen, we were very insular-focused, and especially last year, but I do really feel the switch and I appreciate it. I didn’t even realized we needed it until we started it! Right now, I I think we say that we wanna have a presence on campus and I think that’s the first step, but I don’t think we’ve achieved that yet. We need to really push ourselves out of our comfort zones and have a presence on campus. I was thinking that for one night in Agape, we should just go to a Loyola basketball game. Imagine the presence of 80 extra students with a positive impact being at that game- the students would appreciate it; the faculty would appreciate it. Or going to other events when people actually post about them- how many of us actually go to those events? I know a lot of it is because we’re busy, but we can be known on campus, and seen.

What breaks your heart?

I think first and foremost what breaks my heart is people not willing to listen- I’m definitely guilty of that. I think we create our own reality and our own truth and its really easy to stick with that. Even if its not right, even if it’s not what God is telling us. Because of that, Syrian refugees are not allowed into countries and people are racially profiled and we close our eyes to the poor on the corners in Chicago, and all because we assume a truth that isn’t there. I think we as a culture have a really hard time listening to each other, and that breaks my heart.

What feeds your soul?

Worship; time with Jesus alone where it’s quiet; time with my friends, my family; coffee, food, good conversation.

Do you have a favorite book?

My all-time favorite series is Harry Potter because I grew up with it- it was my childhood. Recently I read “And the Mountains Echoed,”- it’s like a generational book and I really liked it.

What did you like about it?

It went through a few generations of a family and outlined their entire lives, but did it in a way that connected with lots of other families and it was very dramatic, very tragic, so it drew me in.

What would you say to the person reading this?

So my little brother told me yesterday on the phone, when I told him I was graduating and didn’t know what to do with my life, he just says “Sarah! Just live the life you want to live!” which is great advice, but I would change that to “live the life that God wants you to live.”