Home is a transient term. I’ll be home for Christmas? What does that mean? I have had several conversations about coming home for Christmas – where is home? I’ve moved so much in my life – several states, numerous communities, multiple careers, but always have had an anchor or base from which I spun away and returned – a gravitational pull to one location. Those ties have been cut. There is no place to return. No one centralized location where the pull of tradition and family is so strong that it draws me back regardless of distance. No one remains where I used to return. The houses and places my people used to inhabit are now home to strangers. I have friends, true and meaningful friends, in these places – but not a place that doesn’t require a knock on the door to enter. For the last few years, my house was that place – it was still in the area of my gravitational center – and so going “home” was being where I was. I was home. But this new existence – this is a first for me. To go back to where I’m from is to go to a place where hotel arrangements or the hospitality of wonderful friends would be necessary.
I don’t know how I feel about this change. I broke down crying over a song about home today. Yesterday I felt free of any external pressure to be in a certain spot on a certain day. It is a fluid thing. There is a freedom but there is also loss. There is mourning the comfortable familiarity of the predictable. There is excitement over what is to come. There is a desire to ensure some sort of predictability for my daughter. How to build a sense of gravity for my own immediate family? We have been a family that moves around – my daughter has attended 3 schools. We’ve lived in 3 different towns. We’ve had to find ways to make wherever we land its own center of our universe. I don’t know where the next place will be. Will this be the last move for a while or will life take us to another location? I think these questions could be fear-inducing if I hadn’t moved so much in my life. I don’t really fear another move. I do fear the unknown. And I think that is what has me a bit unsettled today. I have the sense of floating in space – wishing that I could look behind me and see a cord or rope attached to the “other” end of something or someplace or somewhere, but there is none. And so, I’m untethered.
This is not an attempt to garner sympathy; it is just a thought that keeps revolving in my brain. When what has been your normal for 40 plus years changes, I think it is natural to become reflective. I also think it is normal to be unsettled by the change. I think if I didn’t have these thoughts, I should probably be concerned about my ability to self-assess. So, I’m sitting in this season of feeling untethered – giving myself the permission to be unsettled by it and reflective of it and uncomfortable with it. I’m discovering the reality that home is where you make it, and that is the focus of much of my energy – to make this place home. However, the sense of longing for what was is strong and it is occupying a significant amount of space in my heart today.
Arden and Terry will be home in a couple of hours and this moment of self-reflection will pass in the flurry of book bags, after school snacks and dinner preparations. I will settle into my evening with my little family and we will do our little family things, and the deep thoughts of this day will be over-run by the immediate needs to be met. And so, I don’t plan to sit in this space for long, but it is here today, in this moment. Maybe it will return for the next several days, when the quiet overtakes the house and I’m alone with my thoughts and reflections. And if that happens – that is OK. And if it doesn’t – that is OK too.