Monday, April 15, 2013

When You Can't Find Home

I have been thinking about home a lot.  I am not sure where it even is these days.  I have a longing to go home, but I can't seem to find it.  The biggest part of my family is in Ohio, but I have never lived there.  I feel very at home there because I am known and loved there.  I feel connected because that is where my roots began with my family.  But, it is not home.  You really can't call a place home if you never lived there. 

The mountains of east TN feel very much like home.  I grew up there.  I went to school there, and had a sweet church family there.   It feels very much like home.  But, my parents left to work in ministry overseas years ago.  My brother left and now pastors a church in the northern part of the United States.  Our childhood home stills sits upon the hill.  My parent's names are still on the deed.  But, another family is calling it home right now.  I can see home.  I can visit home.  But without our family there, it just isn't the same.

My children were born in South Carolina.  I have lived here for some time.  It should feel like home, but sometimes it doesn't.  Most people here know very little of my life before Carolina.  They are dear friends, but not like the ones that share the common ground of school days and Christmas parades spent marching all over Greeneville ringing in the season. 

Sometimes, I just can't find home.  Some days, I want nothing more that to take my children down an old, loved country road.  I want them to hear the cheers of the crowd at the football game that everyone in town attends.  I want them to eat a burger from an old favorite spot.  I want them to giggle at the pictures on the walls of the elementary school where me and my brother spent many childhood hours.  I want them to watch with amazement when wild fire catches briefly on the mountaintop. 

I can't always get what I want.  Even if I went home, I know it wouldn't be the same.  It would be sweet, but it wouldn't be the same.  I am coming to know that home is simply where you are known.  When people know you and care for you, you are home.  Geography is just the background.  People make a place home.  It is up to me to make the friendships that make a place home.  It is up to me to carve out places that bring warmth to the heart of my boys.  Home is what you make of it.  Home is the people you love.  And  I am very lucky to have loved so many people. 

We will still cross the mountains and tell the stories of TN.  We will still spend special times in Ohio with our sweet family.  We will make memories in both of those places.  My children will know them both very well.  But, I suspect I will always get homesick from time to time.  Homesick for days gone by and memories already made.  Homesick for all the wonderful people that have come and gone throughout the years of my life. 

The last verse of a favorite song says so clearly how I feel.  Homesickness is a bit soothed by a sweet music.

And I wish all the people I love the most
Could gather in one place
And know each other and love each other well

And I wish we could all go camping
And lay beneath the stars
And have nothing to do and stories to tell
We'd sit around the campfire
And we'd make each other laugh remembering when
You're the first one I'm inviting
Always know that you're my friend

And at the risk of wearing out my welcome
At the risk of self-discovery
I'll take every moment
And every minute that you'll give me
Every moment and every minute that you'll give me

Sarah Groves -Every Minute

So, I will take every minute with those that make home, home no matter where they are.

B Charmer

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