Homeward

“Your love is a fury all its own //
Sweeping the dust and turning feet towards home //
Carrying the orphans and resetting broken bones //
Your love is a fury all its own.”
– ‘Kind,’ Amanda Cook

The pages of my calendar are turning quickly. My journal is water-marked and gently warped with use. My duffle bag is getting lots of good workouts. My gas light seems to come on with increasing frequency.

Life, these days, is full.

Full of plane rides and car rides, full of soul food and breakfast food and lots of snacks in between. Full of friendship and family and community. Full of worship – because, as my wise pastor once said, all of life is worship.

I love the traveling and the go-go-going, and I confess that I try to fill my schedule with as many experiences and parties and outings as possible.

Someone asked me yesterday: “But do you miss home?”

Well, dear friend, I’m so glad you asked.

Although I adore my childhood house and my own bed and my home city, I’m learning that home – the place of peace and comfort and familiarity –  isn’t on the map. It isn’t my address or my mailbox or the place that my iPhone magically takes me to.

Because homeward isn’t a direction on the GPS but a direction of the spirit. And home isn’t the location of my body but the state of my soul.

In the midst of life’s biggest adventures, I am finding that the compass within is what is most important for me.

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Two weekends ago, I got to visit one of my dearest friends from college in Seattle.

Seattle is one of my favorite cities in the country, for a myriad of reasons. It’s humid and the air is thick and cool for much of the year, casting everything in a muted light that makes colors sing and lights dance.

There are bodies of water practically everywhere, which makes traffic a nightmare, but the views spectacular. Big cargo ships sail silently across the Puget Sound with a majestic, gentle glide, making it seem almost beautiful to be transporting giant boxes of cargo back and forth to Asia. Coffee shops and book stores, which are inherently cozy, seem even cozier against this backdrop of rain and low clouds and fog.

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Throughout my time spent with my dear friend – in the slow, unwinding conversation that comes from deep friendship – I felt a sense of home-ness. Thousands of miles away from my own pillow, it was there. Tucked in the corner of a German restaurant. In the window seat at the book shop. Atop a ledge near North Bend, staring out onto the most spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and lakes, clouds hanging just over our heads and skirting just below our feet.

Home. That feeling in my gut that’s akin to electricity and reverie all at once.

This, I thought to myself, is where my compass sings. Regardless of GPS coordinates.

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This past weekend, it came again.

I was in the mountains for a getaway with my roommate and my parents and my roommate’s parents and a bunch of family friends.

And while we drove a couple of hours away from our usual address, I felt a little bit like I was coming home when I walked into those cozy cabin doors.

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I woke up Saturday morning to the sparkle of frost outside my window, the bubbling sound of coffee brewing, and the whispers of our moms in the kitchen. I breathed deep into my pillow in thankfulness, trying to soak up every possible moment and every feeling, like a piece of bread soaking up the bottom of a soup bowl.

It was the most perfect day. Everybody woke up one-by-one, the volume in the kitchen growing and growing as the breakfast casserole baked. We drank buckets of coffee and orange juice while admiring the bright, sparkling mountain views. We reclined in the cozy living room chairs to read and journal.

Then, we set out for a hike around Monarch Lake. The sky was a piercing blue and the sun shone through the trees, making the snow fall like glitter from the high branches each time the wind blew. Every turn revealed a new, beautiful mountain view, and everybody’s colorful coats made us look like an ad for REI.

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Those are our parents (mine are on the far left). Aren’t they just the most fun??

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And here are all of us 20-somethings! I think we had to keep up with the parents as much as they had to keep up with us.

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After a full morning of hiking in the sun and snow, we went back to the cabin for piles and piles of snacks – guacamole, cheese and crackers, chips and popcorn, M&Ms. We watched movies and played games. We ate and talked and the high ceilings of the cabin brimmed over with the sounds of laughter and happy community.

And I felt it. The sense of being at home.

So, to answer your question, no. I haven’t been missing home.

Because my home goes with me.

Home is sitting close to my best friends and confidants and soul sisters and loved ones as often as I possibly can. It’s about gathering around the table for coffee and egg casserole or cheese and crackers or sloppy joes. It’s about people watching at the airport and feeling a sense of gratitude for adventure and all of the stories that fill this world.

Home is there in the cozy cabin, the window seat, and the skyscraper view. In the office and on the comfy couch. On the plane and the train and the ferry. In the mountains and by the beach. In my hometown and in a new town. With my loved ones and with friends old and new.

And it doesn’t have anything to do with the where. It has everything to do with the who.

And not only the who that surrounds me, but the who that lives within me.

The people that anchor me, not the crowd that jeers me. A Heavenly Father that calls me, not the emotions that disorient me.

In my ordinary, day-to-day, working-and-coming-home-and-making-lunch life, my true compass is no less active than when I’m on the mountaintop. It’s no less active in the hard times than in the happy season. I have found it in the biggest of American cities and in the smallest Haitian villages. In the waiting room and on the dorm room floor.

It’s an echo of the true home that awaits me at the end of my life. That day when my heart will step over the final threshold of grace into the forever family of God. When my little feet will find that eternal place of community and joy and connection and belonging that my soul longs for.

On that day, as my fingertips retrace the map of life, the feeling will still be there.

It was always with me. Even here, even now.

Day by day, my little feet turning more and more towards home.

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