I am sitting here on an air mattress looking around my ‘getting close to empty’ place knowing that I’m supposed to write. So here I am (kicking and screaming just a little bit…). It is my last night in what has been ‘home’ for over ten and a half years. As the tears that I’ve been fighting for the last month begin to flow, God and I are having a discussion about the word ‘home’. One of the dictionary definitions of the word is – the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household; of or relating to the place where one lives. There are several things that strike me in this definition. The first word that pops out is ‘permanently’. In my life, I’ve lived in eight places that I’ve called home according to this particular definition, but, obviously, none of them have been permanent (and it doesn’t count anywhere that I’ve stayed for less than two or three months). It is interesting to me that the word permanently is used in this definition because there really isn’t anything that is permanent in this life. My permanent home will be in heaven. The second thing that jumps out at me is ‘especially as a member of a family or household’. For the last ten and a half years, I have lived alone. My little place is part of a larger house so I have had the ability to have interaction with the owners when I’ve wanted, but I live alone. Being a member of a family is a somewhat foreign concept to me. I didn’t really have that sense growing up with my biological family, but God has provided people I’ve considered family in my life. But I don’t live with those people so it’s still a little odd for me to see that as a part of the definition of the word home. It makes sense to me intellectually, it is just not something I have personally experienced. The other thing that stands out to me is just the idea of home being a specific, physical place. It is an accurate definition, but God has been talking to me about that lately – mostly in an effort to get me to access the emotions that are bound to come up when a huge life transition happens. These four walls have seen a lot over the years. From the good and the not so good moments of my last serious relationship – to helping the original owners’ son with his homework – to finding out that the original owners, who had become good friends, were moving out and watching the new owners move in. These walls have watched me dance. They’ve heard me cry. At times, they have held me up as I struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide. They saw each of my cats being brought into my home, and they watched as each cat took his last breath. They’ve witnessed the building of relationship that I had never experienced anywhere else. They’ve seen the joy and the sorrows. They’ve heard the laughter and the tears. They’ve witnessed the creative side and the analytical side. They’ve heard the unique conversations with God and watched the transformation of my life after HeartChange. They have even seen me climb a ladder or two (plus climbing on top of the fridge). They’ve heard my hopes and dreams, and they hold the memories of the first place that has truly felt like home to me. I know that all of those memories are in my heart – there is no fear of leaving those behind – and I know that God has some awesome plans for me. But there is a sadness as I think about my final night here and walking out that door tomorrow. I am leaving this home, but I know it was never intended to be permanent.
As a verb, the word home means to move or be aimed toward a target or destination with great accuracy. That definition made me laugh. There’s no doubt that God is moving me toward a target or destination right now. And I can trust that it is with great accuracy. I really have no idea what is coming next, but I know He does. I am pretty sure that I’m going to be doing some couch surfing for a little bit. Part of the reason for that is He wants to continue to stretch me. Not having a long term living situation will put me very far outside my comfort zone. I’ve never really not known where I was going to be living. I’ve moved quite a bit in my life, but I always knew where I was going before I actually moved. This is new for me. I also think He’s got some things He is working out before His next ‘target’ is ready – both in my life specifically and just in the circumstances as He prepares the next landing spot for me. In some ways, I’m excited to see what God is wanting to show me during this time. Of course, it also scares the crap out of me. I’m trying to listen to Him and step out in faith with all He is asking of me right now, but it’s not easy. I’m in the process of selling a lot of my stuff. He’s taken care of the majority of my furniture already, and I will be having a garage sale in a couple weeks. He wants me to try and sell just about everything, and whatever doesn’t sell is what I’m supposed to keep. I have no idea what I’ll end up with after that garage sale. As I try not to curl up into a ball under my weighted blanket, I have had some thoughts about some things that He could be preparing me for. All of them could be really interesting, but they are also well outside my comfort zone. I’m sure that’s why He’s working on expanding the borders of that comfort zone. It will be interesting to see what target or destination He has me home in on, but I know, even when I’m kicking and screaming, He’s got perfect accuracy.
Another definition of home is ‘relaxed and comfortable; at ease’. This is not always defined by four walls. I feel at home when I am with the people I care about. In my processing through the idea of doing some couch surfing, quite a bit of anxiety has come up because of how far outside my comfort zone that is. But there has also been something else that has come up – a feeling of home. I have had so many offers of a couch to sleep on. If all of this moving transition had happened two years ago – well, actually just 13 months ago – I don’t think I would have survived. I wouldn’t have had many options of places to go and may have ended up just sleeping in my car. But He knew what He was doing. The people I met through HeartChange have become family. God is showing me again and again that He has built up this community of support in my life for a reason. There no longer is only one or two people in my life that care about me. I could crash on a different couch every week for the next two months and know that each couch was ‘home’ for that week simply because the person offering is family. I can be relaxed and comfortable or at ease. I may not like the idea of not having a place of my own right now, but I won’t be without a home. And the tears of sadness mingle with the tears of joy as I am reminded that I am loved. My heart has found a home that will not be affected by the physical location of my body. For that I am extremely grateful.