My best friend and roommate has packed up her half of our shared room (save the precious tea, kettle, and quantum mechanics book, which will venture home with me) and driven away. After all of these years of slowly moving closer, our all-too-brief foray into the same apartment is flinging us across continents, further than we’ve ever been. Only time will tell if we will continue to orbit like binary stars, ever approaching and receding, or if our singular close approach will fling us across the galaxy, further than we ever would have reached on our own, this one encounter changing our path for good. (This Fleinhardt-like metaphor is for you, Rachel!)
In the last few weeks I’ve bid goodbye to friends old and new who are graduating and moving away, and this whole year marks an extended goodbye to my brief time at Baylor. How bitter to wave goodbye, yet how sweet to be returning to the home I haven’t seen since August.
This summer, my dad’s business blossomed. They could no longer fit on the second floor of the dance studio and moved all the way across town to a newer and bigger building.
Though I knew it seemed silly, I bawled at the rending of part of my home. My parents have been together in that building since I was eight, and I have likely spent as many hours there as I have in my home. When my mom contemplated selling the building last year, my brother and I exclaimed that we would rather sell our house than the studio. Seeing my dad move his truck and his toys and his black chair and his smiling, whistling face away from the dance studio was just more than I could bear.
If home is where the heart is, then I believe growing up is scattering your heart and home, lowercase h, across this globe. My home is in my hometown, in Waco, in Houston. My home is with friends and family scattered across the USA and around the world. My home is in the church in which I was raised, my beautiful church here in Waco, the church I’ve started attending in my hometown, the church I briefly served in NYC. My home is at the DG, at LHS, at the College House with my CG, with my Houston friends, with my A Cal group.
Growing up means never having home be in one place again. When I was little, my entire family lived within thirty minutes of my house and all of my friends were at one school. Never again, on earth, will everyone I love be in the same place.
And that’s okay, because I soak in every minute of home I find.
Moving away to college and preparing to uproot myself again has given me an even deeper longing for Home, the wonderful Home with a capital H that Jesus is building for His bride. A Home of a solid foundation, a fire in the hearth, cookies in the oven, and doors flung wide. All the bits of home I remember will be there — from that lazy summer afternoon of lying on my sheetless bed, watching the fan spin above me, to having a Waco Thanksgiving and game night with all my friends — and so much more than I can ever imagine.
My mind’s eye pictures climbing higher up and further in, following Christ into His Heaven with everyone I have ever loved and ever will love.
For those who are God’s children, each goodbye is only a, “See you later!”
And thus, I have not (yet) cried as I bid goodbye to these friends who are going out into the world to do great things. Whether it be next semester or eighty years from now, I will see them again.
C.S. Lewis captures it so much better than I:
The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back. — Till We Have Faces
I am home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. — Jewel the Unicorn, The Last Battle