“Aren’t you glad to be home?”
I felt like I was being suffocated. I felt suffocated by the heavy heat which I was no longer used too and by the kind and curious faces surrounding me. I couldn’t answer their question.
I was so excited beforehand, telling everyone that I knew back in England, I’m going back home to America!
Then I went back. I had forgotten people. People had forgotten me. Time continued on. Things were not the same as I remembered.
I felt so out of place in the place which was always meant to be mine.
This isn’t home anymore.
The realisation hit me like a ton of bricks. I was only a kid, overwhelmed by the thought that I felt completely lost in two countries.
A few years into the future, and someone at my church in England asks me where I consider home to be; California or England?
“Where do you feel like you belong?”
I shrug my shoulders, ” I belong nowhere and everywhere.”
He gives me a strange look,
“That…doesn’t make any sense at all.”
“I know, tell me about it.”
As pretentious and poetic as that sounds, I was telling the honest truth.
I belong nowhere and I belong everywhere.
In many ways, I still hold to that. I don’t belong anywhere.
I cannot be comfortable in the country of my birth. I feel too much like a foreigner or even a tourist who simply has friends and family in that particular country.
I cannot be comfortable in the country of my choice. People still smile and ask about my accent (“Are you Canadian?”), and I am reminded that I am an immigrant to this country.
However, recently I have been reminded in that I also belong everywhere.
I love both California and England. I tear up at the familiar sight of purple mountains in the distance and the vast desert surrounding El Centro. I walk around my city in Norwich, with a pride of what a fine city it is. I can never completely give up my roots.
Yet, I can put down my roots anywhere. I have the freedom to settle wherever.
You see, home is not necessarily where your family is. Home is not necessarily where your friends are. Home is not necessarily where you find love or where you are completely comfortable with yourself.
Home is not dependent on places and people. Home is a choice that you make. Whether you make your home in a place or in a community, you choose where to settle in for the length of time that is allocated to you.
I have learned this; choose your home where you are called to, even if it is only for a season. I am choosing to make my home into a deprived town near the Norfolk coast, as I am uprooting from my fine city, as I had uprooted from my small Californian desert town before.
For how long? Who knows.
But I am choosing to put my roots down now. I am choosing a new place, for this season, to be home.