Home Is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong

BOOK: Home Is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong
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Home Is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong

Copyright © 2015 by Sophie Hudson. All rights reserved.

Cover illustration by Nicole Grimes and Jacqueline L. Nuñez. Copyright © by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Designed by Jacqueline L. Nuñez

Edited by Stephanie Rische

Published in association with William K. Jensen Literary Agency, 119 Bampton Court, Eugene, Oregon 97404.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from
The Holy Bible
, English Standard Version
), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible,
New International Version
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.
Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Hudson, Sophie.

  Home is where my people are : the roads that lead us to where we belong / Sophie Hudson.

    pages cm

  ISBN 978-1-4143-9173-1 (sc)

1. Hudson, Sophie. 2. Christian biography
—Southern States. 3. Christian life. I. Title.

  BR1725.H7255A3 2015


  [B] 2014040745

ISBN 978-1-4964-0354-4 (ePub); ISBN 978-1-4143-9208-0 (Kindle); ISBN 978-1-4964-0355-1 (Apple)

Build: 2014-12-17 11:32:27

For Sister, who is more loyal to her people than anyone I know, and who makes wherever we are feel like home. xoxo



A Quick Note about Some Things

Introduction: That Time I Was Going to a Parade

Chapter 1: Surprisingly, the Fried Chicken Is Not My Dominant Memory

Chapter 2: That Apostles’ Creed Will Tear You Up if You Pay Attention to It

Chapter 3: What Mississippi Does

Chapter 4: Redemption Sounds a Little Bit like an Old George Jones Song

Chapter 5: Twenty-Six Activities of Great Substance That I Enjoyed in High School

Chapter 6: The Lesser-Known Objectives of Higher Education

Chapter 7: Because Conversation, Chips, and Queso Can Flat-Out Build a Bridge

Chapter 8: When a Disciple of the Lord Drives a Gray Honda Accord

Chapter 9: By All Means, Let’s Attend to the Superficial

Chapter 10: Friends Don’t Let Friends Plan Late-Summer Weddings

Chapter 11: When the Bells and Whistles Blow Up and Go

Chapter 12: The Brat Pack Movies Didn’t Really Cover This Part

Chapter 13: No Me Gusta, Y’all

Chapter 14: El Sombrero in the Sky

Chapter 15: Because We All Have Fashion Regrets from Our Twenties

Chapter 16: When God Hit Me over the Head with a Big Red Stick

Chapter 17: Sometimes the Promised Land Has Really Good Barbecue

Chapter 18: Seventeen Helpful Terms for the Formerly Wayward and/or Semi-prodigal Who Decides to Go to Church Again

Chapter 19: What with Elise Being Recently Widowed and All

Chapter 20: When I Reach the Place I’m Going


About the Author

Sample of
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet

writing books is that sometimes it makes me wish I were a robot.

I mean, not physically, really. Because robots move sort of awkwardly and seem to need a good bit of oil and are pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place if they’re at a wedding and the band plays “Hard to Handle” by the Black Crowes.

Because you know what’s tough for robots? Jumping on the dance floor and BREAKING IT DOWN.

But robots, as best I understand from frequent viewings of
The Jetsons
and also
Star Wars
, have incredible memories. This probably has something to do with the fact that they’re computers, though I’m not exactly sure since I’m not very science-y. But when I was writing this book that you’re holding
—a book that covers a big ole chunk of my life
—I really wished that I had more robot- or computer-like qualities. I did my best to get the facts as accurate as I could, but since I am not in fact a robot, I was dependent on my very human memory. I’m well aware that my memories may differ from other people’s, but I did the very best I could.

Also, I changed a few names and details when I was trying to protect people from the Google, and occasionally I rearranged the order of certain events so that the timeline wouldn’t make your head explode.

I feel like that’s a good goal for an author:
try not to make your readers’ heads explode

No need to thank me for that, by the way. It’s just a free service that I like to provide.

Aside from a few minor changes and adjustments, though, these are real stories about the real lives of real people. Keep in mind that I have no doubt exaggerated some of the details since I’m Southern and we seem to have an unspoken adage in this part of the country:
If the story doesn’t get a little bit bigger every time you tell it, you’re telling it wrong.

Unfortunately, there are no stories about robots. I do hope that’s not a deal breaker.

Thanks for reading, y’all.

a thing about home.

And I’m certainly not the only one. I mean, have you taken a look around the Internet lately? There are thousands of websites dedicated to building homes and furnishing homes and keeping homes and doing all the other home-related activities. America may be a nation that can’t figure out how to balance its own budget, but by diggity we are a people that can create and also implement incredibly detailed instructions in order to transform pumpkins into festive decorative items.

Don’t even get me started about what people are doing with gourds these days. Suffice it to say that the gourds are enjoying a bit of a home-decor renaissance.

But my lifelong affection for home has nothing to do with pumpkins or gourds or even the lesser-utilized squash. However, it
be traced back to a state that you spell with four
’s, four
’s, and a couple of
’s thrown in for good measure.

(I’m talking about Mississippi.)

(I felt like I needed to go ahead and write it out in case you’ve been singing the fifty states song in your head and trying to figure out which state I’m talking about.)

(Sometimes the most obvious answers are the toughest.)

Mississippi is where I was born and raised. My beloved mother-in-law, Martha, might take issue with my choice of words in that last sentence, and she’d probably remind me, “You raise cattle and crops! But you rear children! So you were reared! You weren’t raised!” But whether I was raised or reared or some combination of the two, I grew up in Myrtlewood, Mississippi, where I spent the first seventeen years of my life in the same red brick house with the same two parents. Considering how common it’s become over the last few decades for people to move around and change spouses and blend families, I believe the level of stability I enjoyed is what sociologists would call
a cultural anomaly
. Back then, though, it was nothing unusual, and while life wasn’t perfect, it was simple. And steady. And sweet.

Once I went off to college, though, I made up for lost time as far as moving was concerned. I must have moved eight times over the next ten years, but besides one summer in Georgia, I always lived somewhere inside the geographical comfort zone of the Magnolia State. I was happy to be hemmed in on all sides by the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and the states of Louisiana, Alabama, and Tennessee. I didn’t see any reason why I would ever leave.

But then, when I was twenty-seven, I married a boy who was living in Louisiana. Since living in the same place is generally a solid choice when you’ve promised to spend the rest of your life with someone, I packed up all my stuff and moved my newlywed self to Baton Rouge. Truth be told, I was kind of excited to start married life in a new place. But after a few weeks, reality started to set in, and make no mistake: even though I enjoyed and appreciated all the things that make south Louisiana unique and charming and pretty much like nowhere else on earth, I missed Mississippi with everything in me.

I continued to miss Mississippi for the next three years.

Eventually David and I realized that it was the right time for us to
make our first big move as a couple, so we left bayou country and moved to Birmingham, Alabama. That’s another story in and of itself, and I’m gonna tell it in just a little bit. Or at least I’ll tell the important parts of it. If I told you the whole thing, you’d probably lapse into a twitching fit and your eyes would roll way back in your head. And while I don’t mean to mind your business, you should really demand more than that from your books. At least in my opinion.

Anyway. We moved to Birmingham. We settled in. We went to work. We bought a house. We joined a church. We felt comfortable here.

But it was hard for me to shake the feeling that home
—was one state to the west, where the drawl is just the tiniest bit more pronounced and magnolia trees line the interstates, swaying like sweet old ladies who open their screen doors and beckon you to come on in.

Now. If you’re thinking that this is a book where I’m going to tell you how to do some things
—like how to turn a cross-country move into an adventure for your family or how to follow my simple eighty-nine-step plan for creating a more welcoming living environment
—let me put your mind at ease. I don’t have any advice. Or strategies. Or plans.

But what I do have are some stories.

Because what I’ve come to know way down deep in my heart is this: whether we’ve lived in the same house for forty-two years or we find ourselves moving every fourteen months, God has a purpose in every place. I don’t want to overstate it, of course, but it’s good to remember a little something called the Old Testament. And if I could play Captain Obvious for just one second, let me please point out that those Israelites

And you know what? Not one bit of that moving around caught God by surprise. He ordained every single step of their journey. Take out any one stop on the long desert road, and you pretty much alter the whole course of human history.

Look at Jesus, for instance (yes, I just threw down the Jesus gauntlet on page xv of the book; clearly I am NOT MESSING AROUND). In order
for His birth and death and resurrection to happen, God had to orchestrate some significant historical events to get that family line from point A to point B, you know? It took a mighty long time to move those puzzle pieces from Eden to Jerusalem.

So where we were, where we are, where we’re going

it matters
. And even if you think that God can’t possibly have a plan for you and where you live doesn’t matter to Him and if He was so concerned about your location, then HE WOULD HAVE MADE SURE THERE WAS A TARGET CLOSER TO YOUR HOUSE, then just hold on for a little while. Stay with me.

Please and thank you.

(See? Those Mississippi roots run deep.)

Birmingham, as it turned out, was a really good move for us. Next year will be our fifteenth year here, and if we hold to fifteenth-anniversary traditions, I guess that means that David and I need to buy Birmingham a piece of crystal or something. I’m sure a cut crystal vase would make a lovely adornment on the end of Vulcan’s spear.

But truth be told, we owe Birmingham a lot more than a gift from the “For the Home” department at the Belks. This place has been mighty good to us. It’s been mighty good

And about two years ago, something happened that made me reframe my perception of the whole “home” thing.

(And just to be clear: I now love Birmingham with an enthusiasm that might make you a little bit uncomfortable if we were talking in person.)

(Seriously. It’s kind of ridiculous. I have been known to get visibly emotional when I talk about it.)

(Because that’s totally normal.)

So a few years ago, I picked up our little boy, Alex, in the carpool line and headed to a nearby café so we could grab a quick snack before his school’s homecoming parade began. He was in second grade at the time, and we had just turned out of the parking lot onto a fairly busy road when I spotted an SUV that I recognized heading toward us in the other lane. I
grinned and waved, and the other driver honked his horn while three or four teenagers leaned out the windows and screamed, “HEYYYYY, MRS. HUDSON!” as they drove by.

On the surface it was just a typical Friday afternoon in a beautiful Southern city. No big deal, right?

But for whatever reason, in that moment I was vividly aware of a profound feeling of familiarity
—a confidence in being known by the people who belong to a place. I don’t know that I’d ever felt that so strongly as an adult. And as I pondered the unexpected sweetness of the moment, I was surprised to realize that I was wiping tears from my eyes.

It was such an ordinary thing
—essentially I’d just waved at some people I knew and then continued to drive down the road. Somehow, though, it felt like an epiphany. Because what I realized on that sunny fall afternoon was that Birmingham is so much more than just a place where we live.

It really is

So is Mississippi, of course. It doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition. It took me a long time to figure that out.

And for the rest of the day, there was one specific thought that ran on a loop in my brain.

Home is where my people are.

It’s easy, I think, to go through life believing we can satisfy our longing for home with a three-bedroom, two-bath slice of the American dream that we mortgage at 4 percent interest and pay for over the course of thirty years. But it seems to me that, in our deepest places, what we’re really looking for is to belong, to be seen, and to be known. And what we sometimes miss in all our searching for the perfect spot to set up camp, so to speak, is that wherever we are
—whether it’s short term or long term
—we can count on the fact that God is at work in the journey.

So here’s what I know way down deep in my bones: at every stop in the road
—no matter what the physical address happens to be
—the Lord shows Himself to be so gracious. So loving. So intentional. So consistent. So kind. Even when our circumstances aren’t easy.

Certainly that’s been the case in my life. I have a feeling that it’s been true in yours, too.

BOOK: Home Is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong
11.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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