I’m not sure I was ever a homebody…but I know I always dreamed of living somewhere exciting or fun when I was growing up.
I remember visiting Uptown Minneapolis every year, visiting my aunt and uncle and cousins – their house was beautiful, and the neighborhood was glamorous – everything I felt that my home in small-town, eastern South Dakota was not.
When I decided to get up the courage to move – it was tough. I left a job I’d known all through college for the romantic ideal of the “big city.” I was fortunate to have the support of my sister, and my best friend from high school with me – and we adjusted rather well, even though I was ridiculously homesick for my parents – especially at first.
My parents both live within a two hour drive of their parents, and I saw my extended family on a regular basis. It was hard – at first – to be SO FAR AWAY, and yet, we acclimated to the longer drive, and my parents came to visit on a fairly regular basis – especially once my children showed up.
And then the itch started again. We had purchased a home in the suburbs – and I couldn’t believe I was going to live somewhere FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE – it felt so stifling, I couldn’t explain why. Stability in a home is such a value ingrained into my being – and yet, I was ready to go.
Well, we tried to sell the house, and were a victim of the housing bubble of the time. Our house was worth much less than we paid, and we ended up in forclosure. A blow to my husband’s and my ego, but nonetheless, an opportunity to start over.
We lived on campus while I finished my classes for my seminary degree, and I loved it. I loved that we were closer to my sister, I loved that I could walk everywhere I went, and I loved the community that campus housing offers.
The experience was a bit jarring – I had a few night terrors at first, wondering if I had made the wrong move in giving up on the house – even though we did all we could to make right with the bank – but I adjusted with fairly little issue.
We then spent the summer living between couches in our friends houses and my parents house in South Dakota – in preparation for our move to Denver, for my internship with a beautiful ELCA congregation out here. I felt so delighted to be so nomadic – and I couldn’t wait for the next adventure to begin.
I had done so well, I stopped taking my anti-anxiety medication, and was feeling better about life than I ever had before!
Then we arrived in Denver. The drive was excruciating, and the altitude almost killed my lungs. I knew I would miss my friends and family, and I was instantly homesick. Add to that a nagging pain and numbness in my dominant arm, and you can imagine, it was just a rough start.
It took a long time to adjust – thanks to surgery, and a merry-go-round of supervisors – but I eventually settled in. I still missed my family and my many friends back east, but I started to fall in love with my congregation, and find a few local comforts to make my new neighborhood feel like home.
And now, it’s almost time to go back. I was reminded of the crazy feelings of homesickness in a recent visit from my home congregation, and now I’m in the weird position – ready to head home, and not ready to leave.
I’m not likely to struggle as much to adjust to be back in a familiar place, but in anticipation of leaving this place, my church family and friends, my actual family that’s out here, I’m feeling weepy – and I’m beginning to worry that adventure isn’t for me. It’s painful to leave – but a Pastor’s job is to enter and love fully, and then remove oneself fully – even if we never move, this will be a reality for me.
If this is to be my future, luckily for me, so far I’ve been sent to places filled with wonderful and loving people – it’s better to miss people than the alternative – but it means I’ll have the occasionally tear-jearking dream that wakes me up to cry a little…and when I’m gone, I’ll be able to rest in the comfort that God will be with us all until we meet again!