March 19, 2017

thoughts on home

As I get older, the concept of home becomes more fluid. I guess that home will always be Oceanside, California but since moving there as a baby, I've called so many other places home. 

There's also Camp Cherith, the little old summer camp that raised me. I started going there as a little girl, bags packed meticulously by my mother who would also sew us a unique pillow case for each summer camp experience. I fell in love with that little space occupying 3191 Radford Road. Jenks Lake taught me how to be brave, morning watch taught me that silence is good, and the meadow taught me about sisterhood. Camp isn't held there any longer, in fact, it isn't even named that anymore. It's different, but it's still home. There's familiarity in that dirt road leading up to the wooden sign welcoming you to a time and space that it seems like the rest of the world may have forgotten.

There's San Felipe, the sleepy little Mexican beach town that I've been making a pilgrimage to each fall since 1999. As I see the "Bienvenidos a San Felipe" sign in the distance, I know home is close. I know exactly where we'll stop before going through a security stop. I know my dad will buy a beer at the little market and drink it alongside his chosen brothers, each one breathing in a sigh of relief as they know they too are almost home. When I see the sign for our camp, I know I'm about to be in my place, with my people. We'll pull into our spots, as far right as possible please, and begin to set up camp. Those tents are home. The sand, the tide, the makeshift dining table where we gather for supper, and the truck that some over zealous doofus has inevitably gotten stuck in the mud that now belongs to the sea are the signs that I'm home. It may only be for five days a year, but that's home. 

There's Korea, the country that welcomed me as a twelve year old that I'd have no idea I'd move to eleven years later. The streets of Cheonan were intimidating and confusing at first, but quickly became familiar as I walked them to school every day. I was alone there but quickly gained a family. We weren't blood, but we chose each other and lived alongside one another for the better part of a year. We explored our little "country" town of more than 500,000 people and learned what markets we could find fresh spinach at, which galbi place was best, and how to navigate a foreign country. 

There's Idaho, the state that I knew nothing of, other than my aunt lived here, that has been my place of residence for over eight years. I was 21 when I moved here and had no idea who I was or what I wanted to become. I've learned so much of that here. Home has become the community that loves me well while constantly calling me to be better, to realize the fullness of who I am in Jesus. Home has become the coffee shop where I don't even have to say my order because it's known (large americano with almond syrup with room please and thank you). Idaho is just that, it's where I'm known. Known not just in the sense of being recognized, but known in the sense of people knowing you to the depths of your core. Idaho is where I learned that it's okay to be a work in progress, that we're never truly finished discovering ourselves and there's beauty in that- so much beauty. 

But Oceanside, there's something about that coastal city that will forever have my heart. It doesn't matter how old I get or how many other places I call "home," that place will always be home too. Maybe it's a blessing to have loved and lived in different places, but it might be a curse too. Sometimes my heart aches for home, but it's a home across the Pacific Ocean like South Korea or it's a home that doesn't exist anymore in the way I knew it like Camp Cherith.

Home might turn out to be so many more different spaces that I'm not even aware of yet, or maybe it'll forever be the little green door cottage I just purchased. The one thing I've realized about home is that you can't force it to be a certain place- it happens naturally through time spent, friends hosted, laughs shared, and tears shed. And maybe it isn't just one space, maybe it's a culmination of all the different places where we've loved and been loved. 

1 comment :

  1. So eloquently said Jessica. I totally get it and so will anyone who reads this. Just beautiful.


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