The term ‘home’ is growing ever more diluted for me. I’ve called so many places ‘home’ over the years, that I can’t say I even could define it if I was pressed to tell you what that means to me.
This isn’t meant to be a sad sentiment.
Quite the opposite, actually. My friend Tori- a fellow Nevada to Tennessee transplant- recently reminded me that God blesses us with the ability to call so many places our home. I think that’s true. We are lucky, those of us who feel we have many ‘homes.’
I say all this because I’m currently ‘home.’
What I mean to say, is I’m back in California. I’m sitting on a bed in the house where my mom lives (not my home), but in the town I grew up in (very much one of the places I call home). As I drive down the familiar streets, I see my grandmother’s house. She passed away 16 years ago, and I have no idea who painted the yellow house gray, but it’s still her house. And almost every day of the two weeks I’ve been here, I pass my in law’s house. Yes, they live in Nevada now, but the house on Gibson and 98 will always be their house. Despite the conspicuous chain link fence around it, and the Mary Kay pink Cadillac in the driveway, that’s the place that I got married and it’s a part of MY story. I pass the hospital I had my surgery. I pass the restaurants I like to frequent. I pass the mall I used to walk by on my way home from school.
It’s all so very familiar to me. It’s in my blood. It’s deeply rooted.
And yet, it feels no more like home to me than the farm house I’m still getting to know back in Tennessee.
I landed in Reno, Nevada on my way out west and spent one night at my in law’s ‘new’ home. Nevada will always be my home too. As we came down Hwy 395 down into Carson City, we passed the hospital where my three beautiful babies came into this world. How many nights did I spend walking those halls in recovery and in awe? As I saw the mountains twist towards the sky out the window, I felt the chills of familiarity wash over me. As I smelled the pine in Genoa, when I got out of the car, a million memories of growing up visiting Tahoe came flooding back. Seeing the rivers a little over full reminded me of the snowy winters that I love and will miss. The winters that are ‘home’ to me, after seven years of growing accustom to them.
And yet, as long as I’ve been gone- which I realize is only a few short months- it feels like this place- Nevada- is no more or less home to me than it ever was.
I’ve been out west for two weeks, come tomorrow, and thanks to the wonderful flexibility my work has afforded me, I’m here for the foreseeable future- or until my beautiful niece or nephew makes their appearance anyway. I miss my big kids- I have baby Gage out here with me- and I miss my husband very much, but I found it strange tonight when I was considering what it is that I miss about ‘home’.
Do I feel more at home out here- where I’ve spent most of my life? Or do I feel more at home in Tennessee- where the rest of my family and the rest of my heart is?
Am I back home now, right where I sit? Or am I longing to be back home in Tennessee?
Where is home?
I really can’t say I know the answer. I do feel blessed that God has allowed me so many places to put roots. I feel very anchored knowing I’m anchored in many places and in many ways. To places, yes. But also to people. To stories. To memories. To history. To love. To pain. To all the versions of me who make up this very imperfect thinker.
I’m grateful. That’s what I know. I’m humbled. I know that much, also. But I’m also still in wonder…
Maybe you really can’t go ‘home.’ Maybe it’s not a place. Maybe it’s just a piece of the puzzle.