My soul longs for home.
I’ve been a drifter for far, far too long, even before becoming a widow.
I was always jealous of friends who grew up in the same house in the same room for their whole lives. My family moved houses every couple of years. After I graduated high school, I moved out on my own. I lived in two different places before moving back home for 6 months to save money for my wedding.
Jon and I lived in a little cottage for our first 9 months of marriage before we decided to move to Nashville. We stayed with friends for the first couple of months until we could find jobs and then moved into an apartment. We moved just about every year after that, 3 different apartments in Nashville and then we moved back to Florida.
Our first Nashville apartment. We sold almost everything we had in order to move to Nashville. Our only furniture was our bed and a dresser.
Our Florida plans dramatically changed a week after driving down when Jon’s dad had a heart attack that required immediate surgery. We ended up living with Jon’s family for a few months to help with his dad’s recovery. We attempted to put roots down in the city that his family lived in but nothing opened up. So we moved again, 3 hours south. This time with my family.
All of the moving I had done in my life meant that “home” was not a physical place, it became the feeling I had with Jon. Wherever we were, whatever place we happened to sleep, that was home.
We lived with my family longer than expected. Pregnancy delayed the move and then it looked like Jon was going to start growing his music career in Miami so it didn’t make sense for us to sign a lease we would have to break.
Spring of 2016 I was itching to move out of my family’s house. I had sat Jon down and told him that I needed our own place, as much as I loved my family I needed a home that was mine. He promised that if the resort in Miami where he was going to sing still wasn’t finished with its renovations by May we would move into our own place in town in June. He didn’t make it to May.
It was a blessing that I was living with my parents when Jon died. It meant I didn’t have to move during deep shock and grief and it meant minimal disruption for Jocelyn who had just turned one. I was very grateful that there was one facet of my life that was stable. But.. it wasn’t long before I felt trapped. The desire for a place of my own never left and but all hope of it evaporated and the only “home” I had ever experienced died. While I had a house to live in, I no longer had a home. I haven’t had it since.
After Nathan was born the hunger for home returned with a vengeance. I knew I would qualify for a Habitat for Humanity home and was ready to start the process of having, not only a space for me and my children but an actual house, something I’ve never had before. But then I felt drawn to Nashville. As much as I wanted and needed a home, I needed healing more. So once again I let go of the dream of home.
My kid’s room and my sleeping / living area here in Nashville.
God opened doors for me to move my family from Florida to Tennessee. A wonderful couple offered up some space in their home for me and my children. It’s been such an amazing blessing. Because of their kindness, I’ve been able to go through ministry school and deal with the deep wounds and trauma in my heart. It’s also given me time to start building community and find purpose. But, as I approach April and the end of school, I’m finding myself once again searching for home.
But then it’s not just a physical place I want, I’m also longing for the other kind of home. The only kind of home I’ve really experienced. The home you find in the warm embrace of someone who loves you.
I had a strange sensation earlier today. I was putting lotion on my hands and I felt the absence of my ring. There’s this mental tick that happens every once in a while where for a half second I’ll expect to feel my wedding ring and re-discover that it’s not there or sometimes I’ll actually feel it there and look down and see nothing.. This ghost ring happened all of the time at first.* As time passed it happened less and less. I honestly can’t remember when it happened last but for some reason, it happened again today. Maybe it’s because my wedding anniversary is tomorrow and I’ve been thinking a lot about Jon or maybe it’s because my heart wants that sort of home again.
(*I wore my ring around my neck on a chain for the first 6 months. I know that it’s uncommon for widows to take off their ring right away but it was already loose and then I lost weight in that first month which caused it to start falling off all the time. I was afraid of losing it so I moved it to the chain with Jon’s ring.)
It’s been difficult for me to find people who are safe to be 100% real with. The majority of the time I feel like I have to hold pieces back. With my non-Christian friends, I hold back on some of the faith pieces so as not to annoy or push them away. With my Christian friends, I hold back my nerdiness and the darker side of my humor. And when it comes to being real emotionally, it’s incredibly rare for me to allow myself to be vulnerable face-to-face with anyone. I want that one person that I know is safe to show all of those pieces to. The person who is home.
But there’s a problem. I have one conflicting desire: Adventure.
There’s a stirring in me. I feel this anticipation rising like something amazing is going to happen. That a grand adventure is going to open up for me any minute. There have been several exciting things spoken over my life and I feel like I’m finally about to begin to fly.
This past week questions have bubbled up: In this season of my life, am I supposed to grow roots or wings? Is it possible to have both? Would the roots of home keep me from flying?
The two desires remain at war and have occupied a decent portion of my mind. Nothing is certain in my life. Nothing is certain about my future. There are so many different directions that life could take me. I know very well that it just takes 30 seconds for everything to change. I just have to trust that God is going to keep me on the right path and I pray that on this journey He allows me to have both.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
I’m praying that after all of this time, I finally see both of my longings fulfilled.