I’ve noticed that when someone in a group casually says, “Oh, I live on my boat down in the harbor” everyone hearing him perks up with interest. Eager questions quickly follow. But when someone says, “I live in my car behind the supermarket,” people go quiet and someone changes the subject.
There are, of course, many differences between living in a car and on a boat, but I enjoy this observation by an author, Arthur Ransome, who plays a big role in my family’s reading. “The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting place.”
Someone living in his car is, well, living in his car. (Living in a fully-equipped RV is quite different.) But someone living on a boat is on a journey. At any point he could cast off the mooring lines and head to Haifa, Honolulu, or Hong Kong.
Feeling settled is very seductive but feeling unsettled is more productive. To their parents’ dismay, God arranged things so that when approaching those teenage years, children start feeling unsettled. Other than when with their friends undergoing the same stage, young people approaching adulthood often feel they don’t really belong anywhere. The last time they felt comfortably ‘at-home’ was as children cocooned in the security of parents and family. The next time they are going to feel ‘at-home’ will be once they’re in their own homes.