Prolepsis – Anticipation. The representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished. From the Greek pro (before) lambano (to take).
Goodbyes lingered fresh as we backed out of the driveway and departed after two and a half days visiting my family in New Jersey. We were there for a family feast, in honor of divine provision. Turkey, and stuffing, and carrots, and biscuits, and sweet potatoes, and broccoli, and corn, and mashed potatoes, and pie - all in extravagant abundance.
And family, and rest, and walks, and (unsuccessful) geocaching, and (equally unsuccessful, but exceedingly more frustrating) plumbing, and allergies, and movies with wimpy kids and Penvensie children, and goofiness with corresponding laughter, and games, and sleep…blessed sleep.
And conversation – unhurried and unforced. Lingering around the table with empty plates and full bellies. Feasting, first for our bodies, then for our souls. Reminiscing of the past, updating on the present, projecting the future (with a healthy dose of murky uncertainty). Casual conversation spinning into open-hearted vulnerability. Comfortable lulls to transition.
This is good. Home in its richest sense. A place of love and acceptance. A place of safety and rest. A place of wholeness and joy. A place of satisfied longing. It lasted a couple days.
We drove off after supper and in the dark, from the back seat, I could hear a sniffling whimper. My son was crying; the overflow of a heart aching from good-bye. His love for his cousins is deep and strong…and distant. Brief immersion therapy cut off sharply. He was grieving. So was I, though I see it more fully. I know that our destination in Syracuse is another satisfying expression of home, a place where I can most fully be myself and know that I am loved and accepted. A place where laughter is plentiful and love is secure.
But even that is temporal. Longer than the two days we had in New Jersey, there is still the realization that in less than four years our daughter will head off to college and there will be one vacant seat at the table. From there, the other three will follow in two year increments, slowly emptying our house and changing the nature of this home. There will be sadness in the change; more heartache in goodbye.
But all of this is a reminder of a deeper and fuller longing for a home that is more robust than any expression of home I find here. My childhood home in New Jersey and my current home in Syracuse, each a prolepsis, an anticipation of a future Home. The sadness I feel in departure is a reminder that what I know of home, cherished as it is, retains a lower case “h.” There is this longing that stirs beneath, a desire for Home where there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying. The old order of things will pass away (Revelation 21:4). Everyday will be a holiday, in its truest sense - a holy day with feasting full. We will sit long at the table. There will be no more goodbyes. And, thankfully, no more plumbing.