Earlier this summer, I read a poem about envying those who have two homes:
there is always the anticipation
of the change, the chance that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming.
i am not even considering the weather, hot
or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope.
For most of my life, these have been my sentiments exactly. Rarely have I felt the desire to remain in one place for more than a few months. My internal compass—my impatience, my fear of commitment?—pulls at me when I have been in one place too long to go somewhere, anywhere, new or well-known.
But this summer I experienced the opposite. I was living that poem, moving between home and home every few weeks. But each time I left, instead of anticipation, I felt a pang of guilt for not staying longer. It seemed I was wanted and needed more in the place I was leaving than the place I was heading for. Then I would arrive, walk through my front door, get tackled by my brothers or offered a freshly-baked lemon bar from my roommates and realize again the strange and beautiful grace of being welcomed completely, simply because I am myself and I do belong here, too.
Well, this is the season of goodbyes. Some reunions, but mostly goodbyes. And I am surprised by how callous my heart is most days, how I live in a numb stupor of routine, how my thoughts turn gray and despair takes hold when I stare up the face of the mountain called Imminent Decisions and Changes. Not because of sadness or regret or fear but out of resignation—because it’s time, because there has been so much good and to stay any longer would feel forced and fake or selfish. Something in me would rather go quickly and break all my ties so I can side-step the emotions and bypass the ceremonies, knowing I’ll be okay no matter what happens or where I’ll end up.
But honestly I think those are just my tried and true defense mechanisms clicking into place: turning to cynicism, numbness, and self-reliance instead of vulnerability, healthy emotion, and community because it’s easier that way, easier to stay neat and respectable when your heart isn’t breaking fifty times a day.
Strangely enough, I don’t want that anymore. I want the messy, the sobby and the snotty, the dirty, the abused, the sad and lonely things, and I want them to pierce my heart and constrict my breathing as though they were my own. I want the bravery to face the elusive sadness and loneliness and inferiority complex hiding deep within me, and my small, sickly, self-absorbed love to grow strong, grow wide wings of understanding, forgiveness, and grace. I want to drink the bitterness of this life, so I can taste how sweet and how good and how perfect is the love of God that covers all our brokenness.
Come, let us return to the Lord;
for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth.