Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Audrey, Butterflies, and Finding Home

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” found me when I was a teenager. That classic film introduced me to Holly Golightly, the offbeat heroine of the Capote tale, portrayed by Audrey Hepburn. Even though Holly suffered from too many vices and sought desperately to find herself, Holly possessed some sort of magnetism that drew people to her. She even drew me, a teenager forty years later. Holly’s ability to wear oversized black sunglasses under a large black hat, all accessorizing the iconic little black dress, mesmerized me. Who else receives $50 for the powder room? Years passed before I realized that everything about Holly Golightly was not beautiful.

Holly told of her cat, the “poor slob” without a name. She explained, “I don’t have any right to give him one: he’ll have to wait until he belongs to someone. . . . I don’t want to own anything until I know I’ve found the place where me and things belong together. I’m not quite sure where that is just yet. But I know what it’s like. . . . It’s like Tiffany’s.”

How do we find our way home anyway?

A friend told me a story about monarch butterflies. Those little creatures that light on my zinnias in the summer are astounding. Born in Nova Scotia, the butterflies launch out on a grand adventure when they find themselves strong enough. They fly over the Great Lakes, head south, then follow the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to the Transvolcanic Plateau of Mexico. Most monarchs travel 3,100 miles. As many as 300 million butterflies spend their winters there.

When spring arrives, those beauties decide to return home. The butterflies take a northeasterly route. Many tagged butterflies have landed on the exact branch that once held the cocoon from which they emerged.

When I graduated from high school, the only guarantee I had in my life was the certainty that I would go faraway to college. We packed my little Honda and drove seven hours to Asbury College. After college graduation, my big brother and I stepped into a moving van towing that same Honda and drove to Los Angeles, my new home. This little butterfly desperately wanted to spread her wings. I flew into a culture desperately foreign to my own, and I realized that the Kingdom of God lived in South Central Los Angeles too.

After a few years, the yearning to migrate back to my home, my branch, began to ache somewhere deep in my soul. My brother caught a flight out, and we migrated back home.

Holly Golightly was searching for a real place that made her feel like Tiffany’s. She loved the “quietness and proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there.” Holly wanted a home, but all she could find was a jewelry store.

As so many continue to journey away from this town that I call home, it sends me to Scripture. How does God define “home”? He sent Abraham and Moses on journeys away from their homes. However, Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son, and it is clear that his move away from home was marred in rebellion. People keep coming and going throughout the Bible for all the wrong and right reasons. Recently, a wise man told me to never move away from something; only move towards it.

Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God. In fact, it was his most common topic of conversation. In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God is within you." I am home already, no matter where I sleep, receive my mail, or make my neighbors.


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