My friend, Miss Pottenger, recently wrote a blog post about home. She concluded that home is where your parents are. While I can respect that (and I always respect her opinion, after all, we are friends and I am fiercely loyal to my friends), I can't agree with it. Her thoughts and writings usually inspire me and this one proved no different. So now I am going to enlighten you to what I think home is. Here we go.
As a child of divorced parents and a product of a broken home, home to me is not where my parents are. As much as I love my parents, they are not my world. They brought me into the world, yes, but I sprouted wings and have flown the nest. I was in high school (senior year) when they split so I had two parents for most of my "childhood", but starting with college, I had two "homes", two places where my parents were. One was brand new, with no history but with my loving father who adored me, the other was the place I had grown up but full of mistrust and anger. Neither place was home.
Then, dad and I moved into a new house. Despite having all my stuff there and living there, it wasn't really home. It was dad's house, not mine. And I was at a time in my life where I longed for my own place, my own home. Yet every attempt to move out ended in disappointment and crushed dreams. So I resigned myself to living in someone else's house and not having my a home to call my very own.
In 2002, while still living with dad, I took a trip. A long trip over an ocean to another country, Peru. Neither parent went with me (after all, I was 24) and no family to speak of around for miles. Just a few co-workers and a bunch of other people loosely connected to me through Compassion, most of whom I had never met.
I stepped off that plane into the arms of my Peruvian friends, into their culture and lives and country.
I had come home.
I felt at peace in Peru. I fell in love with the people, the culture and even some of the food (not the purple corn juice, but they have some good stuff, I promise). I felt my heart had come to a place at rest, a place where I could just be. My spirit felt free and alive. The hotel room and lobby felt more like home to me than the house where I had lived for six years. I never wanted to leave. But I had to go, had to return to the states and the house where my father lived and all my stuff resided. But I felt like I was leaving home when I got on that plane that carried me over the ocean back to my country of birth.
Life went on. I eventually moved out of my dad's house into the basement of a couple from church. While I felt comfortable there it never felt like home. I've since moved back into my dad's house and it's not home either. But in February, when I got to go back to Peru, I got to go home. It felt so perfect getting off the plane, this time I knew where I was going, what to do. And again I felt peace and comfort. The sounds of the drivers honking at night, the windows that don't close because it never rains, the faces of the Peuvian's smiling at me, it all filled me up and consumed me. I had come home, again.
So, home for me can't be where my parents are. My mom lives in a town I've never been to, my dad is moving to another state. Home isn't where you live or even where you go for holidays. For me, home is where my heart finds peace, comfort, rest and familiarity. It's a state of being, not a place. I may find in my future that home is a tiny island nation or an African village. Maybe it's a hut on a river in Asia or in a tiny apartment in Eastern Europe. Home is the feeling that I belong, that I am safe and that I can be myself. Home can happen at dinner with friends, driving along the interstate in the dead of night or in the place where you live. Maybe it's with your parents, your siblings, your spouse or with your pets, but it may not be with anyone in particular. It may not be four walls and a roof, it could be in a smile, in the smell of morning breeze, in the way the sun hits your face as you walk along the road.
I wanna go there, badly. But I'm not sure there is a country road that can take me there...