I had been back for less than 24 hours and the feeling was palpable. This is home. Everywhere I looked were friends – some dear and some still acquaintances – but in each one I saw warmth and expectation. I was walking down the stairs at church this past Sunday after being on vacation for almost two weeks and I was excited to be home – to greet my friends, to meet new people, and to relax into the comforts of routine.
I’ve lived in many places – nine total (thanks for helping me count, Uncle Mike!) – four of which I have clear (a.k.a. teen/adult) memories and have gone back to visit. There’s my “hometown,” Sioux Falls: a wonderful Midwestern city full of childhood friends and memories. There’s “home, home,” Fargo/Moorhead: my college town where my parents now live and where I go for Christmas vacations. There’s “back home,” Greenwich/New York: where I order coffee regular, visit with my closest friends, and talk fast. And there’s simply “home,” Issaquah/Seattle: where I’m most at ease, enjoy my life and have matured personally and spiritually.
It’s interesting to revisit my old homes. In the past I’ve expected everything to be the same – everyone doing the same thing, the same age, the same ambitions and goals. I understand that life continues after I leave, but in my mind everything is the same. This past vacation and trip “back home” felt like I finally found my internal balance about this phenomena. Since I’ve left, good friends have gotten married, had babies, started new jobs, moved houses, built houses, divorced, broken off relationships, established businesses, graduated school, taught children. I cheer them on in the triumphs and stand alongside them in the difficulties. It feels good to see life continue on.
And yet there is a bit of me that will always long to be “home” in each of these places when I visit. I remind myself that I am home when I visit. My closest friends in each place are still my closest friends despite our distance. Our conversations still flow easily. We still laugh and joke like we live around the corner. And we continue to build new memories from across the country.
To all my friends in all my homes – love you!