“When you look into my eyes
And you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
It always comes as a surprise
When I feel my withered roots begin to grow
Well I never had a place that I could call my very own
That’s all right, my love, ’cause you’re my home” Billy Joel You’re My Home
Epigrams about Home:
“There’s no place like Home.”
“Home is where the heart is.”
Or as I wrote once for an ad for our church: “Home is where you go to make sense out of life. Family are those who love you while you look for the answers. (The ending tag line for the ad: Come home to First Church, a Family of Faith. “)
Home. Safety, love, comfort, celebration, the gathering place for family, a haven from the troubles of the world, the welcoming beacon to the wandering soul.
Home is iconic in that while it can be as individual as we are, a city dwelling, a farm, a house in the suburbs, a condo or apartment, it stirs within us memories of childhood, of family. For some, those memories are of warmth and love, for others, recollections of conflict and heartache, for many they hold some combination of the two.
Doug and I have shared seven homes in our long marriage, alone in an apartment as newlyweds, three with just our son, three with our children, (one in a cottage at the church camp on Lake Erie where Doug ministered, one we lived in for 28 years, during the kids’ school years where we sheltered them until they were grown and gone) and now, a house in a historic little town on the Albemarle Sound where they come with our grandchildren to visit with us and our dog. Some will always hold a place in my heart, some have just been a roof over our heads.
No matter the construction or the size, home is ultimately a state of mind, a place to love and be loved.
After many years of conflict and fights that erupted seemingly out of the air in our house, my father’s job with the Air Force was moved the summer I graduated from high school. My mother chose not to move with him from Utica, New York to Norman, Oklahoma. So, when I left home to go to college, I bid farewell to the house I had grown up in and when I returned for the Thanksgiving holiday we didn’t live there anymore.
No walking down our road, rural enough not to have sidewalks, on which we could even skate in winter on the ice that would cover it.. No yard where we played and looked for four-leaf clovers and buried dead birds, or frogs, with solemn services and crosses made from twigs. No woods whose paths I had wandered finding escape and joy. No creek. No blackberries. No crabapple tree.
For a very long time, it was the home I missed the most.
But leaving was also freedom! No longer the monkey in the middle of my parents’ fights, trying to make my mother laugh and calm her resentment, no intervening with my father so he would belittle me instead of her.
Replacing that: the University of Buffalo; learning, new books, thoughts and ideas; a new place to explore with new friends; time with my stern grandmother, other relatives, and wonderfully with my favorite aunt and uncle and cousins in this place my parents grew up; and ultimately, most importantly, Doug.
It was only later, after our son was born, when the Air Force moved my mom to Kansas City and there was no one to go and stay with there, that I realized my home was no longer Utica, nor was it Buffalo, though it holds a special home-like place in my heart. My true home was the love I had for Doug and the family that grew from that love.
Stephanie Perkins says, “For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”
Seriously looking at retirement means very soon we will look to find a new place to live. This time, for the first time ever, ii will be in a house we choose that will actually belong to us….with at least a little garden for Nessa and me. We’re not there yet, we haven’t even looked yet, but I can feel it beckoning to us.
I will miss lovely Edenton, walks at the harbor at sunset, the quaint and stately old houses, the sense of an earlier, simpler time that permeates every second of living here.
I know I will be nostalgic for the fireworks over the water for the 4th, the Peanut Festival, the Christmas parade, the trolley ambling though the town telling tourists the history of this first capital of the state. I will miss the charm of rocking chairs on porches, the carillon at the Baptist Church playing old hymns at noon and six, and chiming away the hours in-between. I will miss my garden and the Arts in the Garden events and the Pilgrimage Tours, and most of all, my church family.
But when we do move to Raleigh, just like my move to Buffalo for college, this move will be a life changing one. It will be adventures into new opportunities, an exploration of where God is calling us next.
I know it will start when we pull up the roots we sank ever so deeply here and slowly grow them in our new place. But this move, like every move, will still lead us where we need to go, and this move closer to our family, like every move with Doug always leads me home.
“No matter where we roam, for always and forever you’re my home.” (Love you…and yes, I do get to post your picture!}