Coming Home to You

You’d think that after three years, I would have finally beaten these feelings of homesickness. But I haven’t. Not entirely. Lately, I’ve been missing my family. A lot. More than the normal, “Hey, that thing I just saw reminds me of Josiah.” No, this is more like, if you showed me a hundred different ink blots right now, I’d probably find a way to associate every single one of them with home.

Home. I don’t know that there has ever been a word so warm and inviting.

As a noun it means: the place where one lives permanently. As a verb, it is: (of an animal) return by instinct to its territory after leaving it.

Many people have made speculations beyond those definitions, as well. Penelope Stokes wrote: “Home wasn’t where they had to take you in; home was where they wanted to take you in. Home was where you always knew you were welcome, where their eyes lit up at the sight of you.”

For most of my life, I saw home as that place I lived for most of my life—that place I return to several times a year. I envisioned it as the place where my family is waiting with open arms and brilliant smiles.

Then I got a reply from a friend whom I had written in this serious case of homesickness, and his concluding statement knocked the breath out of me.

But I think that there will always be some people (maybe only a few) who you have known for a long time—who you shared experiences with—that, even after extended periods apart, it still feels like you never left home.

I read those words. I reread those words. I edited them for grammatical clarity. And then I began to wonder, perhaps for the first time… Maybe home is not so much a place where you come and go, but a place you carry with you. Maybe, in a way, I’ve been home all along.

And this may sound ridiculously, frighteningly weird, but I want to be home for someone—a place of permanent refuge. The kind of place where you return by instinct simply because you somehow know it’s safe there. I want my words to shelter another in the storm. I want my life to harbor other lives—fragile, broken lives that just need a place to rest and heal and discover that there is beauty on the other side of the abyss.

So this is me coming home to you—creating home for you—and praying you’ll find that home only a heartbeat away from where you are.

You’re My Home

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales. I always loved the Disney cartoon, then I watched a local high school perform the Broadway version. Why couldn’t all the songs from Broadway have been incorporated into the cartoon? For nearly eighteen years of my life, I didn’t know what I was missing. Me!, No Matter What, Maison des Lunes… and I found myself particularly drawn to the song Home. (Maybe that stems from the fact that I’m a notorious homebody who doesn’t know why her dreams had to carry her 450 miles away from the place where she grew up.)

Here’s a story that takes a horrible situation and gives it a happy ending. This is a girl’s nightmare turned fairytale. It’s a twist in Belle’s perspective that makes this story spectacular. It’s her willingness to change her views that brings the happy ending. She could have spent the rest of her life “shut away from the world until who knows when,” but instead she chose to open herself up to this monster who held her captive. And in the end she discovered he wasn’t truly a monster at all. As the story reaches the climax and the Beast lies dying, Belle confesses the thing she has learned throughout her time of captivity with these words: “Don’t you know how you’ve changed me? Strange how I finally see… I’ve found home – you’re my home. Stay with me.”

I guess the Beast ended up being what Belle sang about in her first rendition of Home – where the heart is. I’ve found that to be the only way of coping with being so far away from my biological home. I simply focus my heart on where I am and who I’m with. Better yet, I’ve invited Jesus to be my Home. That way I never have to leave it.  Now if I stumble upon an enchanted castle in a deep woods, I won’t have to sing a song of mourning. My song will always be one of joy because I’ve been changed, and I’ve found home. God is my home, and He will forever stay with me.