A month ago or so, I wrote about going home, and asked, can we ever go home again? I was on my way to my small hometown in Wisconsin where I was raised and educated, and flew the coop the first chance I had (1976). Yet, it has always been home. My parents are buried there, I have several school friends who live in the area, and fortunately, my sister and several members of her family remain there.
In 2001, after having lived in several other towns and cities for work, I moved to the Lansing, Michigan area, also for work. As soon as the moving van left, a neighbor and her teen-age daughter brought me a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Then I walked my tree-lined street and the next day, I shopped at the best farmer’s market outside of Detroit’s Eastern Market, and drove from one side of the small metro-area to another. Friendly, helpful folks, lots of green space, an efficient highway and road system, the beauty of the state capitol. It felt like I’d found home again.
I can remember calling my aunt and saying “I don’t get why more people don’t live here. This place is wonderful.” So for the next 18 years, it was easy to call the area home.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been back to the Lansing area, staying with two generous and caring friends. I’ve gathered with friends I volunteered with, worked alongside with, and worshipped with. I’ve met with former neighbors and yes, my old movie group. The trees stand just as majestically as they always did in the yard of my old house.
Once again, I’ve come home.
So what makes each area feel like home? I’ve distilled it to two things for me.
- Memories. Of family, school friends, life experiences including first jobs and first loves, and the lessons that come with each are attached more so to my original or childhood home.
- Comfort. A sense of safety and security and people whose company I enjoy. Add in a house that makes me happy, a welcoming neighborhood, and a diverse community that reflects my interests and values. This is how I view my adult home.
So yes, I can go home again, with different expectations and opportunities, but it can still feel like home.
We had frost on the windshield this morning, and I pulled out gloves and a headband for my walk. Tomorrow, we head back to the southwest where we’ve lived for two years. I’ve loved it, but I can’t say it has felt like home. However, I am very much looking forward to building more friendships, engaging differently within my community, and making more great memories. Then it will truly feel like home. Again.
May you always know the comfort of home, wherever and whenever that is.