Posts Tagged ‘Coming Home’

Home Sweet Ohio & Flying On

HeartDish

This heart-shaped dish is part of the beautifully eclectic decor at my mom’s house in Ohio.

 

My husband, David (aka “Tink”), and I made it safely back to my home state of Ohio. I was born and raised here, Tink and I met in this state, and before moving to Texas we spent a few wonderful years in ministry up here. Ohio is home for me and it is great to be back visiting family & friends up here.

If you’re wondering how everything went with my son and his trip–it went great! He flew up here to visit with my mom & step-dad for a week before Tink and I arrived by car. Tink and I drove up because we’re combining my family reunion here in Ohio this weekend and my Deaconess conference in Wisconsin next weekend all into one big trip. Our son’s early arrival was a bonus for him and his grandparents.

It’s interesting when I look back on how emotional I was about my son’s departure last week because I ended up enjoying the extra “me time” and really, really enjoying extra time with Tink. And my son had a great time with my mom & step-dad here in Ohio.

What’s also interesting about my whole break-down last week over my son leaving is the whole last-minute passing on of my stuffed bear named Arty. It was this big deal to me to have sent my beloved bear with my son, but I acknowledged in last week’s post that it probably mattered more to me than to him.

Well, I was right.

When we got to Ohio I asked my son how Arty was.

“Oh,” he said, “he’s still in my suitcase.”

And I laughed out loud that he didn’t need Arty despite how much I needed him to take Arty. And I was okay with that. Really, really okay with that.

It turns out this whole travel plan has worked out beautifully. I’m glad that the three of us are reunited, but we all did fine while my son was up here without us.

And what is most interesting of all is here I am back home in Ohio for a brief time visiting my family up here, but my own dear mother has been letting me go over and over for decades now. And my mom will have to let me go once again when we leave here on Sunday to continue our trip and eventually return to our far-away land of Texas.

I draw strength from my mother’s courage in releasing me and entrusting me to God’s call in my life. And I draw strength from this chance I have to perch at her sweet home in Ohio for a time before flying on.

My Itinerant Home

all-of-life-is-coming-homeIs home a place? Neither the family I grew up in nor the family I have married into have stayed in one place which makes the idea of “home” a little complicated.

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 Now

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.

——-

This post is my contribution to a monthly Synchroblog that I am joining for the first time. The December topic is Coming Home. The following is a list of other bloggers writing on this topic: