In years past, had you asked me where home was, I would have answered that home is where the white breakers meet rocky shores and lush green forests, where things come in bulk and the freeways are free and five lanes wide both ways, and where there is a little green house with a red door waiting at the bottom of the hill. I would have said that home is tied to a place; I would have told you that Seattle was my home.
Now if you ask me the same thing, that would all still be true, but only in part. Since we've moved here, I've learned that home is much less a place with a name than it is the people who live there. Home changed, just like I changed. Home grew, just like I grew. It's not the same anymore, because I am not the same. In short, home is where the people I love are. So, home is on the shores of the Pacific where the air smells like salt and in the hills between France and Switzerland where cows run rampant.
I'm not sure what my expectations were when we first came here, but whatever they were, they weren't what has happened. I didn't expect to fall so in love with these people, if only because I didn't expect to pour myself so deeply into them. I didn't dream that a blue and gold soccer team would ever mean anything to me, or that Claude Francois would be one of my favorite things to listen to when the car windows are rolled down, or I would get so ridiculously attached to fresh bread for breakfast. If there is one thing I've learned in the past few years, it is to not hold so tightly to my expectations and beliefs that I don't leave room for them to change. That being rooted is good, but only if I let my branches soar. I am more comfortable with change, adventure and the unknown because I know that God has a plan for me. I've begun to understand what living actually means.
At some point in transitioning here, I had to surrender myself to God and let Him lead my life and acknowledge that His way is best. And that's when it happened. Doors opened and new (French) light crept into my heart. This became home.
That being said, we are going home. Leaving home to go home. It's hard and a blessing and tears and joy all at once. There has been so much to think about and so many plans made and just so much. Moving back opens so many new doors, and yet closes others too. But this adventure is for the best. I know that with my whole heart, because it is God's plan.
Truly, going home was never such an occasion for joy, but leaving home was never so hard. I am torn; I am grateful; I am so blessed that this dilemma is mine. Our departure is arriving more quickly than I care to think about, and I'm trying to fill these last days with life and adventure and love with my friends here. It's a bittersweet thing, but I am thankful for it.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
― Terry Pratchett