I used to think I was a wanderer. All I ever wanted was to roam, daydreaming of road trips with no destination. The airport was my favorite place in the world. I would stare at the list of arrival and departure flights; O’Hare to Tokyo, Vienna, London, Paris, Sydney. Going everywhere. I could go anywhere.
Now I am far from that airport and the little brown house I lived and laughed and yelled and danced in, and today all I want is to go home again.
Such a complicated word.
For some, home is a vase full of flowers, a brick chimney, lasagna in the oven. The smell of fresh coffee. Music. Hugs. You are home and you are at peace, taking off your armor. You are safe.
For others, home is knives and anger and dust, dust everywhere, dust on things that should have been moved and removed long ago. You are angry and you are misunderstood and you know you are not safe, no matter what you are told.
Home used to fill me with bitterness and I used to say I’m done, I’m done with home. I get to pick my home. No one can tell me that is my home unless I want it to be.
I disowned home and set out to find it somewhere else. But that somewhere else was nowhere else.
I went back.
It’s still there, the dripping rain gutter and the arguments and the nest over the front porch light. But home feels a lot less painful now. It feels a lot less like old wounds and untuned piano keys and more like comfort. A place to rest. A fresh start. Bitter and sweet, like dark chocolate.
Friend, home may be a place of pain for you. You may have stormed out, slammed the door, and vowed you would never return. You never wanted again to see the tiled kitchen floor, the geese stomping on the roof, the wasps living on your windowsill.
Home may be a place of a lot of error and not enough apologies. I get that.
But can I ask you one more thing?
Please, don’t ever get so angry that you can’t give it one more try.
I know it’s hard. You may have already given one hundred, even one thousand tries. But please, save one more in your pocket just in case. You may come home and find the chimney has been replaced, and the walls have been repainted a prettier color, and that chance will still be there waiting to be offered. Just because it hurts now doesn’t mean it must keep on hurting forever. Don’t let your shoulder be chipped over and over. Don’t become a rebel without a cause.
And if the house is so torn down that there’s no hope for repair, you’ll know. And if that day comes, I hope you can walk away without regret.