I’M 800 MILES AWAY FROM HOME. I haven’t lived there in over 30 years, and I still call it home.
What’s up with that?
I should call it Ohio.
“I’m going back to Ohio for a visit.”
But instead I say, “I’m going home for a visit.”
I’m not sure what to make of that.
Since leaving home—Ohio, I mean—I have lived in the Kansas City burbs just about all of that time. My grown kids, who were raised here, live nearby with their spouses and dogs. I have my wife and Buddy the Dog.
This place has all the makings of a home.
Even the Kansas City Royals are on a winning streak. (They won last night, too. Don’t jinx it, don’t jinx it).
Why can’t I let go of the past and think of this place as my one and only home?
Home on the Range
Last week my little sister’s daughter moved 1,200 miles from her Ohio home. My niece, Vicki, just graduated from college with the degree she needs to teach music. She took a teaching job in a small town near the northern tip of South Dakota.
I read up on that town. I took a Google Earth street view tour of the place. Then I sent my sister and her husband a ringtone they could use whenever their daughter called.
“Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam.”
I’ve renamed my niece: Dakota Buckeye.
She’s nothing like that.
She looks more like a porcelain doll than a Calamity Jane.
More like Victoria’s Secret than Dakota Taxidermy & Sausage
In fact, she helped pay her way through college by working at Victoria’s Secret.
I missed most of her growing up years. We don’t know each other very well. But I felt a nudge to reach out to her in a way I haven’t reached out to any of my other nieces and nephews, whom I love.
Vicki is a kindred spirit now. She’s the one who, like me, left home
- for a faraway place because that’s where her work took her, I suspect against her will—as it was for me.
- Away from everything familiar.
- To a land where she would live among people she had never met.
It was an 18-hour drive. She and her mom made it together; 10 hours the first day, 8 hours the next. Two days after that, her mom flew home to Ohio.
School starts today
It’s Vicki’s first day as a teacher.
She’s home now.
I don’t think she knows it yet. Unless she’s a quicker study than me, which would be no big surprise. But that hurt she must be feeling—homesickness, most call it—is like the pain we get from working a muscle.
Her heart is building something for her—and stretching to make room for it.
A second home.
Every bit as cherished as the first, but without displacing the first or diminishing its value.
In time, I believe, she’ll feel comfortable in both homes.
- The home of wherever she is.
- The home of where she was.
Today, I’m thinking of home.
Not so much the land, but those who have walked it with me.
And the One who is always where I’ll be.
“Lord, you have been our home
since the beginning.” (Psalm 91:1)