Friday, August 26, 2016

Coming Home

We're home. We're back in our own beds, back under our own roof. And a bit tired of driving. 
Ok, really tired of driving. 

This summer's journey was epic, in many ways. 

It will take several blog posts to truly unpack that statement. I likened it to natural birth and marathon running. It's uncomfortable and exhilarating, and I feel a bit more accomplished for doing it. And I learned a bit about myself. Will I do it again? Probably not with a baby ever again. But in a few years? Once the crying baby PTSD wears off a bit? Possibly. 

The topic of "coming home" is a surprisingly loaded one. 
I found myself crying when I realized we were back in the Eastern time zone. And again when we were on the Mass Pike, for the final hour of our journey. 
Boston is where BestestHusband was waiting for us. And two aging and neurotic shelties. "Home" is the 130 year old construction project we moved into last summer. Boston holds some of our dearest friends, and all of the plans for our immediate future. 
Why did "coming home" make me cry?

I couldn't help but notice, driving through the vast spaces in the middle of our country, how much I felt at peace. The sky was big. The roads were straight and wide. The people wherever we stopped were friendly. The expanses of green, the cornfields and forests, were soothing. 

It's important to know that I've never actually lived on a farm. Other than Boston, I've lived my life in small towns and moderate suburbs. There's no reason that the farms and ranches of the American heartland should make me feel at home. But they do. I felt a peace that I don't often feel here in Boston. Why should I feel at home driving through farmland in flyover country?

I spent my childhood near the Gulf coast, in Louisiana and Texas. Most of my memories are rooted in and around Pearland, TX, a suburb of Houston. My parents moved from there not long after I graduated from high school. My dad, a pastor, accepted calls in different churches that moved them further away from major airports. This is inconvenient when you go to school 2000 miles away. And consequently, I've only once since graduation been to the town that hosted most of my childhood. It's no longer a moderate suburb. It's pretty major now. I'm not sure I would recognize it as "home" even if I did go back regularly. Obviously, I enjoy my visits with my parents. Very much. But I call it "visiting my parents". It's not "visiting home". 

My husband's concept of "home" is very different. He spent his entire childhood in one house. This house is the one he returns to when he visits his parents. His childhood bed is the one we sleep in when we're in Minnesota. Well, actually the girls slept there this visit. But it's the exact same mattress he slept on. With some of his mementos still gracing the walls. 

BestestHusband sat on the sofa in his parents' living room, and looked out the window to the field across the street. "When I look around, nothing from this view has changed in 20 years. Except maybe the size of those trees out there." His concept of "home" is a pretty stable one.

Mine is not. I've come to terms that we won't be moving to Texas any time soon. We keep trying. But, other than just moving with no jobs waiting for us, it doesn't seem to be a reasonable option. My plan is to raise my daughters somewhere in Texas. God seems to have other plans. The job options for BestestHusband are consistently in Boston. Not Texas. So we've consciously been setting down deeper roots in Boston, establishing a stable concept of "home" for our girls. (Hence that construction project we bought last summer.) Because God seems to have plans for us in Boston. He has given us a stable livelihood, great friends, a wonderful church, a cozy school, and a bright future. It's never been my plan for us. But I work to accept God's plan for us here, and have come to terms with the idea that I might always feel a bit like an outsider, no longer how long I live here.

Somewhere during the trip, MeToo started asking questions about Heaven. What would we do there? What things would and wouldn't be there? Would we sleep? What if we really like sleeping? Would we get to eat our favorite foods? Could we watch TV? Have pets? 

I obviously don't have those answers. But we did talk a lot about it, imagining how great it would be and why. We had very different notions of a place of eternal joy.  But I've become convinced of one thing since this trip:  When I get to Heaven, then I will finally feel like I'm home. 

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