At one point in our vacation after a delightful visit with old friends in the east of Ohio, I took the late night drive back to Cincinnati (you can tell it's my home town and not Darwin's because I can spell it). And though it had been years since I had driven that route and this particular evening everything was shrouded in a dense fog, I remembered much of it from the signs I could see.
As we drew nearer to town and the way grew more and more familiar, I was surprised at how much my heart leapt to see even the mile markers with the name "Cincinnati" on them. Someone was celebrating early; as I drove over the Ohio River at 4:45 on the morning of the Fourth of July, I saw a single firework explode. From then on, I knew the way so well I could practically drive it in my sleep (as I was very close to doing): downtown past the stadium, onto 75, then my exit, past areas where even the urban decay has urban decay, then to the neighborhoods where the stately middle-class homes of the last century have been subdivided once and again and allowed to slowly rot. From there up the hill to the working-class neighborhoods of the West Side (never to be confused with the East Side!) -- my old stomping grounds. And though I've not lived there for many years -- not ever, really, since the house was bought after I went to college -- I felt such joy as I drew nearer to the auld homestead and the neighborhood that I knew and loved.
If I was so delighted to come home to a house in which I never even spent much time, how moved should I be to move closer to the house of my Heavenly Father, and by encountering the signposts that point me on the way? "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places; otherwise, how could I have told you that I was going to prepare a place for you? ... You know the way that leads where I go." (John 14:2,4)