Where I Came From
I grew up and went to school from Kindergarten through 12th grade in Pickerington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. In many ways, I still feel Pickerington is my home. But none of my family lives there anymore.
My parents divorced when I was 14 years old and both stayed in Pickerington until after both of us kids graduated from high school. So, for a while there I had two homes in my hometown–the house where I grew up and lived most of the time with my mom and brother, and the apartment where my dad lived and my brother and I would visit on Dad’s weekends. When it came time for Christmas, my brother and I had two homes to help decorate!
But shortly after I got married, my dad bought himself a house in a neighboring suburb of Columbus. And two years after my wedding, my mother sold our family home to move in with her new husband–about an hour away from Columbus.
My parents are still alive and well and I go and visit them in their new homes when I can. As time has gone on, I do feel “at home” when I visit my parents in their respective new homes–I know my way around their kitchens, I can find the right light switches in the middle of the night. But the sense of “home” I have about being there with them is disconnected from the places where we actually dwelled together during my younger years.
I haven’t been back to my actual hometown of Pickerington for quite some time. And even when I do go there, I feel a bit like a fish out of water, having no place to lay my head in the town where I grew up.
On the Move
After I finished high school, I went for one year to Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky. Then I married my husband and moved to Indiana where he was serving as pastor of his first church. Then began even more moving in my life as a pastor’s wife.
In 18 years of marriage we have lived in 7 different dwellings in 4 different states. We have had 3 major cross-country moves–from Indiana to Florida, from Florida to Ohio, and from Ohio to Texas.
In each place we have lived we have tried to fully enter into the life of each community. It’s important to us to live near the church where my husband serves. We shop local and we frequent the restaurants nearest our home. Everybody knows our names and we like it that way.
We have done our very best to make each place our home. And each community continues to hold a special place in our hearts.
But we don’t have family in any of those places and the actual dwellings we lived in are filled with different people now.
And given the dynamics of pastoral ministry, returning to previous churches has a very different feel as my husband does not want to make things awkward for current pastors. We are clear that we are guests, friends even. But those churches are no longer “ours” as they once were.
We are simply visitors in places we used to live.
Home for us now is a small town in Texas. And once again, in the town where my husband pastors, we are doing our usual routine of making this place our home. And truly the steakhouse in our town–JW’s Steakhouse in Carmine, Texas–is the best steakhouse in the whole state.
It is so strange to call this state my home. When I first met my husband and learned he was from Texas, it didn’t even occur to me that I might live there, ever. Even when we got married, I thought we would probably stay in the midwest our whole lives together. Unless, of course, we got sent to the mission field somewhere. Somehow going to a foreign country seemed more likely then moving to the Lone Star State.
But here we are.
And my husband’s family is all over this great state as well. So, he kinda is back home. And as I’ve mentioned before, his family has really made me feel at home among them. I even know my way around his parents’ kitchen and can find the light switches in their house in the middle of the night.
I’m not home at all, and yet I really am. I think, in many ways, the itinerancy of my home has deepened my reliance on the relationships rather than the places of home. In this sense, I can make my home anywhere despite never being able to actually go home in the way that more settled people can.
My Heart All Over
And yet, I still feel the attachments to and longings for my former homes. And sometimes when I think about all the friends I have left behind from moving around so much, my heart hurts. I feel like little pieces of me are all over, but I can never be there enough to have what I once did in those places and with those people.
And I try not to think too much about it because I think I really could wall myself off from the possibilities in my current setting. I mean, it gets more difficult to invest in each new place so deeply. Sometimes it seems easier just to stop forging the new connections.
I don’t want to do that though, I want to keep investing in each place. I want to keep being incarnational with the people where I am. Even if I can’t ever truly go home, I can be fully present wherever it is I find myself. That’s the best I can do and I pray for the love and grace to continue to make my heart a place of welcome for those I meet in each new place.
- Christine Sine – Is There Room for Jesus to Find a Home In Your Heart?
- Jeremy Myers – It Sounds Like Christmas
- Nathan Kitchen – Coming Home
- Michelle at Moments with Michelle – Home
- Mallory Pickering – I’m Kind of Homesick
- Bobi Ann Allen – Coming Home
- J.A. Carter – Going Home
- Glenn Hager – Where the Adventure Begins
- Marta Layton – Can You Ever Come Home Again?
- Peggy at Abisomeone – Abi Has Finally Come Home For Christmas
- Amy Hetland – Coming Home
- Coffeesnob – Home
- Carol Kuniholm – Advent Three: Redefining Home
- Liz Dyer – Advent 2013 The Way Home
- Harriet Long – The Body and the Sacred: Coming Home
- Edwin Pastor Fedex Aldrich – Who I Was Made to Be
- Emkay Anderson – Homemaking
- Anita Coleman – At Home in the Kingdom of God
- Kathy Escobar – Mobile Homes (Not That Kind)
- Doreen Mannion – Heart is Where the Home is
- Sarah Quezada – Coming Home with Tamales in Tow
- Loveday Anyim – Home is Where the Heart Belongs