I remember with perfect clarity the first time I felt totally content. I was fifteen, and it was my fourth year of summer camp in the Absaroka Mountains. Ever the introvert, I had sneaked away from a camp worship meeting and climbed to a clearing overlooking the chapel. Enfolded in familiar forest sounds, sweet, blissful peace washed over me. I was loved, I was accepted, I was safe. I was home.
Fast-forward nine years and I am sitting in a sweltering, turn-of-the-century mansion on Massachusetts’ North Shore. Content, more or less. Loved and safe, surely; and yet I wonder when I will go “home” again. Campus housing, no matter how picturesque, certainly isn’t it.
I have lived in many different places, and none of them are truly home. The rust-orange Boise-Cascade my parents moved into last winter houses all of my possessions—save what I could shove inside two suitcases—but it’s not really home to me.
If home is where the heart is, then I am in trouble. My heart is scattered, bits of it permenantly lodged in Anacostia, in Masiphumelele, in my late grandparents’ house, in Missoula, and in that clearing above the Boulder river where I first began to grasp God’s love for me.
I say this because I know countless people who feel the same way. We Millennials are taking our sweet time about settling down. We’re afraid of putting down roots for fear of being stuck in the wrong job or relationship or whatever; yet, unconsciously, we’ve been planting roots – loving and being loved – all along.
My heart is in a dozen different places, and as the adventure of living footloose and fancy-free subsides, I find myself wishing I could go home.
Someday, whether in five years or fifty, I will go home again. And in the meantime, I am deeply, profoundly grateful for the parade of beautiful and loving people who have touched my heart and have made me at home in their lives. I hope to pay it forward one day.
“…that he shall put them safe off his hand on the shore, in his Father’s known bounds, our native home ground.” – Samuel Rutherford