Several Christmases ago, I bought a decorative plate at an antique store. My husband had remarked on it, and I thought it an appropriate present. It said, “God Bless Our Mobile Home.” As it turns out, God has, in fact, blessed our mobile home, or rather, God has blessed us in our mobile home. Nine or ten months after moving in we brought our infant daughter home to live in it. I was grateful for the limited space, when as a ten month old, my daughter learned to walk; there were just a limited amount of things she could get into. From this humble place, we dealt with the terrible two’s, we dealt with the mud problem in the yard, the roof leak problem, the “dead-cat- beneath-the-trailer” problem. From this residence, which was supposed to be temporary, I have lived longer than I’ve ever lived in one place (I grew up highly mobile.) In it, we huddled together when the electricity went out during a snow storm, we watched in horror as baseball-sized hail stones pummeled our cars. In the yard we built bonfires, had fish fries, watched meteor showers, pushed our daughter on the swing, helped her learn to ride a bike and hit a baseball. We experienced so much of life in a type of dwelling which is often the brunt of jokes, an object of derision. And it’s made me think upon the significance of temporary dwelling places in the Bible and in God’s kingdom.
As it turns out, quite a few Bible characters lacked a permanent residence; they made my modern home with wheels look downright established. From Abraham, Jacob and Issac who dwelt in tents to the one they undoubtedly foreshadowed–Jesus, who declared that “the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay his head,” temporary housing, in whatever form, becomes symbolic of the life of faith. After all, Christians live on earth as in foreign land–their true residence is in heaven. God himself, in the days before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, inhabited the Tabernacle–a sort of trailer house existence. God, as he inevitably does, turns the tables on our expectations and dwells in prefab housing, which may have foreshadowed the church age when God’s holy dwelling place would be our bodies–earthy, temporary, highly mobile, and yes, not very sturdy in a wind storm, and in constant need of repair! Good thing we have temples waiting for us–resurrected bodies that won’t wrack up thousands of dollars in repair bills. (I’m 50 and the “break down metaphor is alive and well with me!)
I chose “Trailer Dweller”as the name for my blog because, basically, it was the only one I could think of that hadn’t been taken yet. (There’s got to be a lot of blogs out there.) Still, the name fits, because, even though my husband and I now own a house, our histories (both as singles and as a couple) in trailers and mobile homes has been “long and glorious!” And, as it turns out, the trailer is a fitting symbol for our lives, for the lives of all MK’s and others who grew up “highly mobile.” And of course, it’s a fitting symbol for all Christians too.