Home has been very much a word in flux for me over the last few years, and will continue to be, times about a million moving forward.
It's true. I've been very absent here in my little corner of the internet for quite a long time, and there are a lot of reasons for that. But the grand sweep of 'home' for me has been a somewhat dizzying journey over the last two years.
The suite I lived in for eight years in Vancouver. The little garden suite in a hundred year old farmhouse, now in the heart of a Vancouver residential neighbourhood. The home where I had dinner parties and games nights, movie nights and gingerbread parties. The home where I decorated, baked, served, shared, created. The home I worked very hard to hold on to when I went to Kenya, only to give it up a year later once I had decided to start the process of returning to Africa. That home is no longer mine.
The house I grew up in. Mom and Dad's place in Deep Cove. Where I moved back for almost two years, welcomed in again as I looked to save money for school. The house, hugged by the forest, full of warmth inside - the warmth of the rooms, of the memories, of the love that still lived there. The home God knew I needed to be as I endured the hardest year of my life to date. The home I could come home to and rant and vent and question and shout and cry. Where I could rest my head on my mom's shoulder, feel dad's arms around me, and just sob, surrounded by their amazing love and their prayer. The home that we said goodbye to in June, when they sold it, moving on to a new stage in their life. The home that holds my childhood. That home is no longer mine.
The room I rented this past summer. The shared house with a couple who works at my church. Where I was invited in as a practical stranger, appreciated and welcomed into their life, their home. Where the oppression of the past year finally came to an end, and I started to catch glimpses of who I was before. The perfect situation God put me in to fill my needs at just the right time. That home is no longer mine (although I know I am welcome back any time I need a place to stay!).
The apartment I now share in Calgary. Having moved one province over to study for a year, this, too, is a place of providence. As I continue to settle in - organize my closet and my cupboards, put up a few personal touches, and learn my way around the city, this place now feels like home. Or at least, it feels like where I live, for it, too, won't be home for long. This home will be no longer mine.
That as yet unknown place, somewhere in Africa. What country will be home? What village? What house or hut or shelter will I call home next?
In such a time of flux, with the grand sweep of home changing and shifting so frequently, I found myself thinking as I drove home from school tonight about all the places I've lived in the last two years, and where I might end up.
It's true, the places will change, and I will establish myself wherever I land. And yes, ultimately, nowhere on earth will ever be my true home. But among the sweeping changes - across neighbourhoods, cities, provinces, even continents - there will always be something small - a memory, an fleeting scent, a well-known sound - that will bring me back to that inner sense of home.
I found one such moment tonight as I was driving home from school. There was something familiar and comforting in the evening air, but I wasn't sure what. As I settled into the feeling, I realized what it was.
I've lived in Calgary for twenty-eight days now, and it had yet to rain. But the clouds came in this afternoon and were lazily sprinkling their contents over the city. Head lights and brake lights and traffic lights shone on the wet of the road while a mist covered my windshield with dogged determination to best my wipers.
As I drove, I smiled at the thought of how something so simple could make me feel so comforted.
Just a rainy night, but to me they were little drops of home.