“Home is where the heart is.” “Bloom where you are planted.” “Wherever you are, be all there.” All of these phrases have been oft quoted to me as our family has faced multiple moves. We have moved seven times in our twelve years of marriage, and this despite not being a military family. And though we want to put down roots, the day will likely come when we will move again.
So where is home? How do I be all there? How do we flourish?
Currently, our home is in Georgetown, Texas, the Red Poppy capital of Texas, a suburb north of Austin, and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. We moved here in July for my husband’s job and have been learning and finding our way since then. I doubt Georgia O’Keeffe had Central Texas in mind when she painted these beautiful poppies, but they capture the wild loveliness we have found in our new home state.
Moving to a new home isn’t just about finding a new doctor, grocery store, church, and school. It isn’t about finding the best shortcut from home to work, or where to put the dishes in the new kitchen. In many ways, those are some of the easier parts of moving. And when you’ve moved as much as we have, those sorts of details seem to fall into place fairly quickly.
How do you make this new place feel like home? That is often the greater challenge. What is it that makes a place feel like home? Knowing your neighbors? Attending community activities or school functions? Sharing a cup of coffee with a friend at your kitchen table? All those things are part of making the new feel familiar, and we are working diligently on all those fronts.
But I think a place really begins to feel like home when I gather with friends and no longer feel the need to share my “back story” in every conversation, the scenes in our family narrative that we take for granted with those who know us well — When did you move here? Where did you move from? What brought you here? And when my friends no longer feel the need to ask how I’m settling into a new place.
I feel at home when I can just be.
For some of us, we may have lived in the same place for years, and it still doesn’t feel like home. You don’t have folks with whom you can be without masks, pretenses, qualifiers, and explanations. Social media too often does not help (and yes, I see the irony here). So much of our communication today is reduced to tweets, tags, and texts. How then can we truly be at home with one another?
We need to cultivate a sense of home. Let me encourage you today to make the first move. Whether you’re an old-timer or newcomer in town. Take a plate of cookies to a neighbor. Brew a pot of coffee and call someone up. But most importantly, be you. Be who you are: Take the mask off, drop the pretense, take a risk to share yourself. Yes, it’s feels frightening, but the rewards are incalculable.
And remember that there is a God who took on flesh and made His home among us, who took the initiative with us that through faith in Him we might drop our pretenses, discover forgiveness, and dwell forever at home with Him.
So is Georgetown “home” for us? It’s getting there. And I’m headed over to a friend’s house even today. 🙂