Every time I go back to Wisconsin, I’m reminded of how many places I call home. I lived in my hometown for 18 years before I called another place my home across the state. Then I took it to a different state that I also now call home. I have homes scattered throughout the country, some that I feel homesick for often, although I’ve maybe stepped foot in those places a handful of times. My home is in pictures and the familiar things that surround me every day. And I find my home in a being I’ve never seen before.
Home. It’s a word I’ve been thinking about a lot recently and I’ve been having a difficult time finding supporting words to describe what home actually means to me. For years, I’ve described it as the place I grew up – the all too familiar streets and buildings and people that also call that same tiny town their home. The more I grew and changed though, I started to feel like maybe home was wherever my parents were since every time they visited me while I was in college, I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of home they embodied.
And now that I’ve been around the world and have meet hundreds of people who have deeply impacted my life, my sense of home is everywhere and nowhere in particular at the same time.
I recently bought my own townhouse and moved into an empty, start over fresh kind of place. It’s my new home, the new place between my coming and going, the new dwelling where I rest and wake and cook and enjoy and be. But of course, it’s felt very little like home since I moved in because the rhythms of my life haven’t been established here yet and many people I love haven’t stepped foot in it and haven’t been part of the story of home at this new place.
And yet, over the past few weeks, I’ve really gotten to thinking about the markings of home, the characteristics of places, people, and things that embody the place we all experience and hope for.
Home means belonging. And belonging means that the table has been set for you. You were meant to be there. Ordained before you even knew it was your place to be. Because when we are home, our hearts feel like they were meant to be there on purpose. It’s why home is embodied so often in people, because the souls around us are the ones that can significantly influence our understanding of home. And when we are the chosen one to be welcomed in, open hearted and open handed, there is nothing more deeply satisfying. At home, you’re chosen because home wouldn’t be complete without you.
Home means rest. The one area of wherever I stay that almost instantly sets my feet on the ground, whether that’s permanent place like my house or a temporary place like a hotel, is my bed. Where I’m sleeping, resting my body and my mind, seem to have a significant impact on my understanding of home. And what I’ve come to believe is that where we sleep speaks to the depth to which our hearts experience rest. Stillness. Meaning and purpose. We were created as beings that are given the gift of rest, because we need it and we crave it. And isn’t that what home is? Our dwelling place of rest and our envelope of groundedness.
Home is the fullest expression of you. Home gives you permission to not only express who you are in the fullest sense, but it also provides the safety and permission to step into the courageous work of understanding and embracing the intricacies and uniqueness of you. It’s the place you begin to understand that you were created specifically and for good. And good, when deconstructed, means at ease and for a purpose. So weather that embodiment of home is in the place or the person or the thing, you are allowed to be at ease with yourself and the world around you, no matter what, and it also encourages you to embrace the purpose you were created for – to step into the fullest expression of you.
Home. Difficult to name but essential to know. Essential because home is where you dwell; it’s your resting place, your place that embodies the full expression of you. And the simple fact that we never find home in one place and we never are truly quenched of our thirst for the deep sense of home has less to do with the natural flow of the human life but has way more to do with the one place our souls truly find home. We find home in the people and the places and the things because the One who can provide every need of home is in all people, all places, and all things. So until then, we wait, we recreate, and we open our hands and our hearts to the glimpses of home we receive every day.