If You Click Your Heels Three Times, You'll Still Be Here

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about home.  Not where, but what it is.  Living in transition is full of considerable challenges and carries with it bits of joy and heartbreak, and this has only heightened my sensitivity to the comforting notion of being at home.  Yet the miracle that we can find it and experience its fullness in almost any place under almost any circumstances is stunning.  Home is inescapable. 

If you were to uplift a great animal, say, a panda bear, and transplant it to another country, another climate, and another forest, it would never survive unassisted.  It would have moved outside the radius of its resources, its habitat.  If we let our minds fall prey to the fickle messages around us, I think we would also expect to be able to travel outside the reach of our home.  During the first 4 years of our marriage, C and I moved four times.  I’m sure this kind of transience is dwarfed by the mobility of military families or kids in foster care, but to us, it felt incredibly jolting.  Each time we settled, I experienced a deep and troubling dilemma.  Do I put down roots?  Do I love my community?  Do I allow myself to build relationships, or do I withhold and wait for the next transition?  I’m sure many of you can relate.

During Easter weekend, I went back to my former place of work and was able to see friends whom I have missed since moving north.  I told C that I was filling my hug-tank, and found the experience surprisingly overwhelming.  Years ago in an undergraduate communication theory class, my professor explained that every initial human interaction, if you were to strip it down to its fundamental level, is a question of how one person can serve another.  What can I do for you?  What do you need?  How can I help?  Despite my college-senior brilliance, I didn’t fully understand his point, but it did and does get clearer all the time.  Being renewed by the warmth of a friend’s embrace is no different than sharing a smile in the grocery store with a stranger; It is only a matter of scale.  How could I help you?  Will this meet a need?  Can I lift your spirit?  However, this will only satisfy if we can let down our armor and let our tank be filled by the kindness of a stranger.  Self-preservation keeps joy at arm’s length.

In a sense, home will always be the brown cape on Morrill Street that I grew up in.  It will always be my father, mother, and older sister.  Home is the embrace of my lover, my husband; the voice of a friend.  But the place I go to when I think of home and close my eyes is really no place at all.  It is so much more than that, so far beyond the constraints of time and space, of sheetrock and city streets.  So, what is home?  It is the deep, resounding awareness that I am loved, that I am of value and have purpose and contribution, regardless of where I am.  That if I were to fall away, I would leave behind hope and joy, and that my life would have left a mark, small or large.  So in truth, if I relent and allow myself to engage the world I am in right now, I will find that I am, always have been, and will always be


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful!! P.S. You didn't get a hug from me so your hug-tank is one short :)


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