finding “home” wherever you are

It’s been awhile since I took up pen and ink to write. (And still, you might say, I’m taking a shortcut by returning to screen and keyboard.) But – anyway – what I mean to say is that I am starting (again) to write. And you have to start somewhere when you’ve neglected a space and a place for a season. 

I’ve been thinking about “home” a lot lately. Obsessing over it might be a more accurate description. Because my family doesn’t have a home of our own right now. And after 11+ years of dwelling-in-our-own-home, it’s different. We originally thought it would just be a few weeks, maybe two months, tops while were in transition from Virginia to South Carolina and waiting for our home to sell. But this stopgap arrangement is now approaching half-a-year total – and we are still waiting.

homeSo how do you make “home” for a family of four while sharing your parents’ home? How do they expand their “home” to fit the demands, noise, delights, etc, of a family-of-four-with-two-7-year-olds?

I could do a few how-to blogs for sure, co-authored with my parents, on all the ways to make it work or things to avoid. But y’all know I’d rather not get too detailed in this space. I like to reflect on the ideas (or ideals?) and parallels and lessons and meaning found behind – above – around – among the details. And what strikes me are two things: (1) “home” is many places and (2) you can always make your space your “home” (even if it’s not entirely-or even partially-yours).

Returning to my hometown hasn’t been as much like coming to “true home” as it once was. Like when I visited home that first Christmas break during college, or when I moved back after college graduation, or even when I came back to get married. My husband and I have made “home” in two places at this point in our 11+ years of marriage – Philadelphia and Norfolk, Virginia. We were in Philadelphia for 5 years total (two of them married); and Norfolk for 8 years. Norfolk’s the only home our twin daughters have ever known. So coming back to South Carolina – while certainly familiar for me and wonderful in the aspect of being close to my family again – is not our home as a family. It will become that.

But that’s the key – the process of a place becoming home takes time. You can’t speed it up, no matter how much you try or how many people you start off knowing or how familiar a geographical location is.

So what do you do in the meantime? You have a lot of “first conversations.” You know what I mean – the basic get-to-know-you-and-your-story-and-your-job-and-your-family kind of conversations. And you have many similar conversations with many different people. Co-workers, friends at church, neighbors, parents at the soccer field, moms in the classroom, etc. It’s essentially the same conversations over and over again. And of course it gets old after awhile. But there are no shortcuts to relationships or community. You keep remembering that all of your tried-and-true friendships (the people you miss in the other homes you’ve had) started the same way. And over time, similarities emerged. And/or difficulties brought you together. And there will be shared tears and laughter that births true community. 

While you’re doing this, you’re also trying to establish a physical “home” that resembles the one you left. Which is extra-challenging when, for example, you don’t actually have your own place yet. But we do have two bedrooms and bathrooms and a hallway-turned-office, and a few weeks ago I hung up twine and paper-clipped our Christmas cards to the hall bannister and pretended it was like our fireplace mantle. And something small like that made this space we’re sharing feel a little more like our own. I try to focus on cultivating gratefulness, which isn’t hard to do most days because of my parents’ generosity and love, and the fact that I have a God in Heaven who arranges even details of my address in order to help me seek and worship him. But there are those days when I obsessively view homes on Zillow that I’d like to live in. And days I just wish I could look at our pictures and eat on our dishes and have a whole roof to call our own. For those days, I’ve written these words so that I can return and remember and gain perspective.

For all of you who are in those in-between-home days, too, I hope these words help you know you’re not alone in the ups and downs of the process. And I’d love to hear from you. What has helped you when you’ve been in a similar place? How do you find home wherever you are?



6 thoughts on “finding “home” wherever you are

  1. Good morning Heather,
    What a joy to see your post! I came out on our porch to sip my tea and thought “I should read a devotional or my bible. “. Lazy me, I just sat and checked my email. Well, you post was my devotional! “.
    The rain is coming in now and I do need to pray about how easily discontented I allow myself to become. 😕.
    Thank you for your reflections this morning and the reminder to look up to Christ and be grateful.
    God continues to bring you to mind and I will continue to lift you, Seth and the girls up in prayer.
    Through Christ and with love,

  2. *smiling* She put pen to paper and my heart is glad 😊 Feels like I’ve had a lot of practice finding home wherever I am, lol. A few things I do:
    1. Find community, seek community, pursue it vigorously.
    2. Cling to scripture for perspective. Transitions can be challenging and I don’t much like change so I’m always clinging to scripture because the Lord never changes. He is my constant when everything else around me is changing.
    3. Music! I love music. It has the ability to uplift my spirits and can even remind me of fond memories. Fun fact: I dance and sing while I’m cooking 😂
    4. Going for walks or just getting outdoors. I’ve become especially fond of walks on the beach but generally love going for walks. It frees my mind and helps me to process and get some alone time.

    I must echo Nany’s words above. You’re writing! And I am glad! Hoping words from sweet friends help home to feel like home- because we’re in your heart. And you’re in ours ❤️


  3. You’re back! So great to read your voice again. Home is that ever elusive concept. For me, it’s as much a feeling as a place. God has been so gracious to you in this transition. His mercies never fail. Looking forward to hearing more! ~ Heidi

  4. Pingback: a new decade begins & a spiritual father dies | hidden glory

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