I’ve been homeless for over a year.
Not in the sense that I have no safe place to lay my head at night. I’m homeless in the sense that there’s no place that my heart calls home.
I’ve had several homes in my life. My first memory of a home was the Baptist manse in Falmouth, Jamaica, where I spent the first 6 years of my life. My next home was on Red Hills Road in Kingston, Jamaica; I spent 8 years there. For the next 11 years of my life, I called the Baptist Warden’s residence at the United Theological College of the West Indies home. Then came my apartment on Richmond Parkway in Richmond, California, which was my home for a year and a half.
After that, home was my mom’s house in Spanish Town, Jamaica for a year, before I found my own place back in Kingston. Within 2 years, my own house (with a mortgage…gah!) became my home. It was home for 6 years. On the heels of the Great Breakup of ’14, I sold it and spent 1 year bouncing between my sister’s house and my mom’s house (but mostly my mom’s house) while I decided what next to do with my life.
Without a doubt, I love my parents and my sister. I love that, no matter what happens, their doors are always open to me and I always, always have a place to lay my head in their homes. But when I moved out on my own for the first time ever 15 years ago, their houses stopped being my home. The times that I spent there last year, while precious to me, was not time spent at home.
Now, my place of abode is a house in a foreign country, living with people with whom I work, and this is also not my home. This is the place where I will reside and work for 1 year. If I’m out and someone asks me where I’m going, my response is, “To the centre,” not, “Home.”
So what’s ‘home’ to me? When will I know that I’m home?
Home is where I own my own place (well…the bank may own it with me). It’s where I’ve picked my own furniture and decor. Home is where my comfy, top of the line king-sized mattress, pillows, cushy bedding and sofa live with me. It’s where I pull off my bra and kick off my shoes the minute I step through my front door. Home is where I make my own decisions about what happens there. It’s where I veg out for the entire weekend, curled up in bed reading or on my couch watching old black and white movies, all without taking a shower if I don’t feel like it, and maybe wandering around in very little (if any) clothes. At home, I can just…be.
Home is a cottage in a village or small town, where there is peace and quiet. Home is on a mountain side with beautiful views of God’s creation spread out before me. Home is where I raise my family and love on my kitten and puppy. Home is my sanctuary. My heart breathes a sigh of contentment and joy and peace when home comes into view.
I don’t yet know where I’ll be going when I leave here next year. Will I be headed to another country to live and work? Will I be headed back to Jamaica? I don’t know because I don’t know what God has in store for me. Right now, I have many places to lay my head – my mom’s cottage, my sister’s townhouse, my aunt’s brownstone, my anam cara’s house – but I don’t know when next I’ll have a home.
Although I’m eager for my new home, I’m not anxious for it. That’s because I know that between now when my home comes into view, God will probably take me on many adventures and I’m excited about that. But, yes, when that time comes, my heart be relieved to have finally found my home.