There’s nothing like walking back through your front door after a long trip away, or collapsing into your own bed after a long day.
Home is a special place.
Wherever that is for you.
No matter how hospitable someone is, it’s never quite the same to be a guest in another’s home. Not quite as comfy or…safe.
I think home is a place where you let down your guard.
So I can see why falling in love with someone has a lot of the same qualities. And getting married for that fact.
Home is a hard place to define. We use phrases like “home is where the heart is” to describe the feeling….because it’s temporal. It changes. It’s hard to pin down. It’s not confined to walls.
It’s dependent upon people as much as it is a place.
College is as much about finding your next home, as it is about trying to leave your parent’s. It’s a slow process. A kind of limbo we get stuck in. Between kid and adult.
Dorms don’t really help that.
They’re minimal, whitewashed, impersonal, and void of any semblance of familial warmth.
If you’re lucky like me, you had the chance to “move off-campus” after you’ve done your time in the small prison-shaped rooms, possibly with a solitary window.
But I do see now why most schools require you live 1 year on-campus first. They understand that home has a lot to do with community. Not just a physical place.
Now I live in a 7 bedroom house with my best college buddies. It’s a beautiful southern house (which if you want you can read more about in my previous post).
But the place in that picture…is important to me for another reason.
I was adopted into a new sort of family. The other guy in that picture is one of my closest friends now.
I didn’t go “home” (to my parents house) for two years after I left for college.
When I did finally go back, I didn’t recognize my hometown. The usual shock I suppose: high school quarterbacks working minimum wage jobs, your sweetheart married, religious zealots now drunk dropouts, the nerdy kids who became ridiculously successful, and an assortment of druggies, community college cop-outs, baby-mommas, and the lost friendships.
Not to mention the physical changes of the landscape. As the city slowly started to creep in on my quiet suburbia. The bike trail I used to ride on with my best friend, taking long day-trips far away on countless adventures, was defiled by a modern transit system which links to Dallas. Well, there goes a piece of my childhood.
And finally, when I reach my old bedroom. It. doesn’t. feel. mine.
At night, I lay in bed, on the top bunk, unable to sleep. I jolt awake in the morning, wondering what strange place I’m in. It takes a couple seconds after I rub my eyes to realize the blurriness is just a side effect of unfamiliarity.
All this to say…. it’s a tough journey from 18 to your mid-twenties, trying to find where you belong.
I realized after being gone for 3 months, drifting sleepless through the unforgiving deserts and mountains of Africa, the place I missed most was…..that little ‘ol town in Southern Oklahoma.
Yet, when I am home, in Durant, I am still restless. I must continue my search.
Ethan Cox says it best on his blog http://ethan-cox.xanga.com/,
“Both sides of my grandparents also live in Willis (less than 2 miles from my parents’ house). Needless to say, I feel at home in the Bottom [Willis nickname]. However, I have a certain unquenched spirit that spurs up especially strong when I’m at “home.” It’s a spirit of travel. I have had the privilege of visiting a couple of continents, and now I can’t seem to get my fill. I don’t know what “home” really is, but my spirit feels most affirmed when traveling. Maybe the road is my home. “
I’ll give one last example, because it may do better justice than me.
One of my favorite movies in high school was the movie “Garden State.” It had a clip in it I didn’t really understand… until I had been gone at college for a few years.
Now, I see it. I understand. Destined to forever be in search of that place, until you recreate it for your kids.