Home is many places, it is not just here, in my house, in Texas, with my husband, two cats and a dog. When I am asked where home is, I often have to pause and think about the answer. To place myself in where I am when asked, to give what is “the right answer.”
If I am here, near my house, in Texas, the answer is New Jersey.
If I am not here, near my house, in Texas, the answer is Texas. But I often wonder if that is the right answer.
My pastor gave a sermon this past fall, on a topic I honestly don’t remember, where he put into words what I have been feeling with increasing frequency as I grow older. He called it the longing for home, meaning our Heavenly home. He said that it is a universal longing, this longing for home, and that as Christians, we can rest assured that this is our Heavenly home. That as more and more of those we have loved leave us here on this Earth, this longing typically becomes more intense, as more and more of our selves are really someplace different than this world. It was the first time I had heard someone speak of what I often feel inside, to articulate the words that swirl in my head, silent murmurs that become louder with the passage of time: “I want to go home.”
It isn’t a desire to die, in case you were worried. I love life, and living. But it really is a longing I feel that I didn’t quite understand before my pastor spoke of it. It is most intense after times of deep loss, like the passing of my grandmother or grandfather. The loss of my beloved Bennie and my Buddy. More pronounced after visits with loved ones that end in goodbyes, as they often do when family and friends are so far apart. More marked in my soul as I grow older.
So where has my home, my earthly home been? I grew up in New Jersey, and it was there I learned who I was, and what it was to be part of a family.
I went to college (bachelor’s and master’s) in Virginia. It was there that I learned what I wanted to be the rest of my life. Where I learned that my peace of mind came from being part of a church family.
I moved to Ohio, near Cincinnati, after that, when I was 25. There I learned to be a speech language pathologist, and then an Assistive Technology Specialist. To not only be part of a church family, but to be welcomed into a real relationship with God, with Jesus, and his children.
I had a short journey in Louisiana, where I pursued a PhD in speech language pathologist for a year. There I learned that it was OK to not continue on the path of what was once a dream, but was no more.
And at last, I moved to Texas. And here, I have learned how to be wife, and how to settle down into the calmness of being married to my wonderful husband, to finally feel somewhat settled. And through many losses I was lucky enough not to have until age 36, to come to realize, that home is, perhaps, not always a geographic location, or a building on a road called a house.
Home is to me, not just one place, one location anymore. I have found my home is in three places, maybe more.
I am part here, in Texas. With my husband, my mother in law, her boyfriend. My two cats, my dog. My job, my Texas friends.
I am part in New Jersey. Where I grew up, where my childhood home was. Where my parents still live, and I still visit.
I am part in Vermont, where my brother and sister in law live.
And there is more. My best friend in New Mexico. Dear friends still in Ohio and Virginia.
And then those I can no longer see here on this earth. Never forgotten, still in my heart. I long for the day we will see each other again.