As I read, and commented, on Michael's post, I realized that my sense of home has changed greatly in the last six years. Before I went to seminary, I imagined that my home would always be in Western Massachusetts. I loved the Pioneer Valley with its rolling hills, the Connecticut River, and my many many friends. I loved The World Eye Bookshop, Greenfield's Market, the Farmer's Market, and all the good places to eat. And when I left, it felt like someone was taking my arm. When I return to Western Mass, I know that I have come home.
I arrived in Alexandria, Virginia, and slowly found new places to love - a great diner for breakfast dates, the Alexandria Pastry Shop, and a host of wonderful Thai restaurants. I learned how to take the train into Washington, and took advantage of the Smithsonian museums on the mall. And I made good friends at school, at church, and in the area. And when I left, it felt like someone was taking my arm. When I return to Alexandria, I know that I have come home.
I arrived in Northern Michigan, and after a short period of time, I knew that I was home. I was welcomed by the wonderful colleagues with whom I worked. I immersed myself in the beauty of that place. I learned the best place to get good Thai food, where to go fishing, and how to get from Point A to Point B, all around the UP. And when I left, it felt like someone was taking my arm. I have yet to return to Northern Michigan, but when I do, I know that I will feel like I have come home.
I am now in New Hampshire. We've been here just over a month. The boxes aren't all unpacked yet, but we are making progress. We are learning where to hike, where to shop, where the good places to eat are, and how to get from Point A to Point B.
When I look at the patterns of the last five years, I am comforted. At some point, I will stop feeling like a guest or a visitor. At some point, I will look around and realize that I am home.