Last week I made my first trip to Baptist Country as an alumna. When we pulled into town, it didn't feel like I had been gone a month. It felt like we had just gone to Elizabeth's for the weekend.
Very little has changed.
A few trees have blown down, the construction projects have progressed, and there are not nearly as many cars in the parking lot.
So much has changed.
My ID card no longer lets me into buildings, my mailbox is boarded up, and I am not returning in the fall. Yet still it feels like home.
It was years ago when I first referred to that little town as "home." If I flew to The Homeland, I said I was flying home. If I flew to Baptist Country, I said I was flying home. The lines between "home" and "school" were so blurry that I gave up on what to call each place and declared travel days "Airplane Day," no matter which direction I was going.
What is home?
Is home my parents' house? Is home the college town where I went couch-surfing last week? What exactly is home?
I wish I posted everything I've drafted because in February I wrote a post entitled "Redefining Family." It claimed "family" was my five suitemates, my ten-person ministry team, and my lunch buddies. Sometimes family has little to do with blood relation.
Home is where your family is.
I'm having a hard time deciding where "home" is because my family is in The Homeland, my family is in Baptist Country, my family is in Nicaragua, in Guatemala... Does that make home all of those places as well?
In the same way that The Homeland will always be "home" because my family is here, Baptist Country will always be "home" because my family is there, too.
Beauty and the Beast taught me "home is where the heart is." If that's true, then I'm heartbroken. In Baptist Country, I want to be in The Homeland. While in The Homeland, I yearn for Baptist Country. I don't think this is necessarily a bad problem to have, but I am not a fan. For four years my life has been split by 900 miles, a chasm that is not closing anytime soon.
Until God sends me somewhere else, home will have to be my parents' house. No more trying to outsmart amazon.com to get packages delivered to my P.O. box. No more loitering in the caf. No more spontaneous trips to Wal-mart even though we don't need anything. No more "Katie, party of twelve, your table is ready."
As I struggle to define such a basic four-letter word, I must also remember that in the grand scheme of things, none of these places are "home." They are all temporary dwellings prior to an eternal home. I honestly believe that someday there will be no sixteen-hour drives and no time change because there will be no time at all. There will be a day when tears won't roll, hearts won't break, and pain won't hurt. All of God's children will be home, constantly singing praises to Him, for He deserves it.
That, my friends, will be Home.