And The Road Leads…Home

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I remember getting on the plane, August 21 2005. I was 22.

It wasn’t the first time I had made a major life decision to separate myself from those closest to me and move.

I was barely 18 when I moved from Vancouver, BC to St. Catharines, ON to go to university. Who knew that meeting a girl called Sarah in my first year would somehow lead me to moving abroad just four years later.

This time the catalyst is different.

This time it’s about a call.

Next month, I’m packing up, leaving Sweden, leaving Europe and heading to California.

Now, as far as I know, California is a stop, SELAH, a break.

I’m going home.

home. 

What a loaded word.

When I moved to university, I was 18 and I was leaving the people I love.

Now, as I take a huge step of faith, again I am leaving those I love. But the most beautiful, terrible part is that now, my heart is across the world.

My heart, ripped, torn, stretched and spread from Australia to California, from NYC to Amsterdam, from Stockholm to Moscow.

And now, I go home.

I recently heard a quote that said “home is wherever they want you to stay longer”…so by that definition I think I have home in a few places and for that I am thankful.

so…

I was back in Toronto in September for a short visit. Being in a period of transition I, for the first time, saw the city in a new way, meanwhile striving to get somewhere else. I even hid my feelings until I blurted it out in the car “Do I just want to come home because I have nothing yet to look forward to?”
It was a burden lifted.

Briefly.

Because then, my friend, the journey has been hard. I have spent weeks on end praying, journalling, crying, sitting silently, asking what I should do next.

And all I heard was go.

So, I am.

First stop Cali, next stop Toronto.

Do I have a new job? No. Do I have a plan? Not really.

And for the first time it’s okay because in this season, this is obedience and it’s the one of the most freeing, liberating, peaceful step I have taken.

And it’s exciting.

A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life],
But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.

Proverbs 16:9

So, I take one step. One day at a time. And keep only HIM in sight. For He is the author of my life. And in Him I trust.

 

No Place to Call Home

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I call Paris my second home, though technically I’ve never lived there. 

I queue like a Brit.

I (often) dress like a Swede.

Some days I sound like an Aussie.

I am overly polite which runs true of most people raised in Canada. 

I like spicy food like an Argentinian and have the temperament of a Latina running through my blood.

I have the sensibilities of a German, obsessively strict with time and leaning on the side of OCD.

My heart is ripped into pieces, travelling quite literally to the corners of the earth with each family or friend who takes it with them as they bid me adieu. 

When I am sad or want to celebrate Whatsapp, FaceTime are my mecca.

And Fika has become the connection point of my daily life. 

I am have a home. I have books (apparently this means I am settled). 

I have a permanent job.

And yet, wherever I am standing, I always refer to where I am not as home. 

I’m not nomadic. Nor am I crazy. 

My heart, the one torn into pieces makes home many places.

And I am okay with that. 

I understand that not everyone will understand.

I get that my life my seem strange to some.

And while my personality would love to please everyone, I know that it’s okay that I won’t.

Wherever I am, there is always an open door, a free bed to sleep on. My life will never stop moving, even when the “settled” seasons of my life begins. I long for adventure, to touch every aspect of the globe. My YouTube history would divulge my secret obsession of constantly learning about other cultures, maybe my Netflix account would too.

I know there are others out there whose hearts sing similar songs, and one whose song matches mine. For others, we may sound off-key, and that’s okay, because there songs sound like nails scratching on a chalkboard to me.

I will likely never be in a place I call home, because where my heart is, that is home.

Where God leads me, where he places me or takes me away from, all home. He guides my soul to long for Him, for new places, for new people.

What’s your song?

H.O.M.E

It feels like home to me…

Just know you’re not alone, Cause I’m going to make this place your home…

Another aeroplane, another sunny place, I’m lucky, I know. But I wanna go home, Mmmm, I’ve got to go home…

Ahh, Home…Let me come Home…Home is wherever I’m with you (2x)

La la la la, take me Home, Baby, I’m coming Home…

And finally…

There is no place like HOME.

I think that HOME just might be important to people…

So, what is home?


What does it mean to you?

When you see the word home, when the word passes your lips do floods of warm memories of your childhood home come flooding in? Or perhaps bad memories engulf your thoughts? Perhaps the immediate image is that of the kitchen you had today’s morning coffee in, or the apartment in the last city you lived in. It may even be that home has many meanings to you.

Before I continue on, I’ll give you a bit of my story. I was raised in British Columbia, Canada. My parents worked full-time so I was raised by a village and subsequently I had many houses to live in: my grandparents, my baby-sitter’s and my own house. We then moved into a new house at 13 and at 18 I moved across the country to attend university. There I first lived in residence halls, then in a house then apartment with friends. Meanwhile my parents had divorced and were living in separate houses with new spouses. My belongings packed up and stored. Shortly after university I moved to England where in seven years I lived in 5 different housing situations, mostly with friends but once on my own. I have since moved to Stockholm and live in an apartment with two others who, before I moved in, were strangers and I plan to eventually move in with a friend.

Woah, now that’s a mouthful, but hang on with me…

If HOME is a building, something I attach myself, my memories, my life too then what happens of my heart when that changes?  Am I left with no home? Or a permanent sense of belonging? I say no.

When someone asks me where home is I really do not have an answer. This question is usually paired with, well, where is home? I can’t really say Canada because that’s not the entire story. If I say London, I get a look wondering where my accent is and if I said Germany (where I hold citizenship) I have to explain that I have never lived there.

So…do I have a home?

Home, to me is a not a place, it’s not a person, it’s not even a place that is permanent.

Some say that home is where the heart is…and if that’s the case my home is in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The United States, Germany, England and Sweden. My heart is in all those places. I have friends and family, each of whom have a piece of my heart.

So, to me, home is more than where my heart is. Home is a state of mind. It’s a place where I may have lived; it’s a place where I have loved. It’s a place where I am safe and protected and secure.

Home is not a permanent fixture. The first house I ever lived in on Peacock Place is not “home”. At least not the only home I have had. It is a place where memories lie dormant but it’s not complete understanding of home to me.

For some, you may never leave your childhood city or even move out of the home you grew up in (who knows each circumstance). Some of you may be even more extravagant like a beautiful friend of mine who has not stopped travelling for over 5 years moving from place to place to place on a grand adventure. For each of us home will look differently but the most important thing to remember, to even get away from is the dictionary definition of what home is.

The place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household.

Get that out of your mind. It’s a constraint, a lock, a wall.

Home is where you make it, the people you let  in and the memories you have and will make.

If what you experienced as home hurt you, than make new memories.

If your childhood home is no longer there, then build a home where you are at now.

If, like me, the physical representation of home changes constantly, feel not weary or displaced but blessed that the world is your home, your family expansive, diverse and full of love.

I think I love the song that says…”home is wherever I’m with you”…

Because YOU are important to me.