Shelby and I know something about packing. It’s probably more accurate to say that our parents know something about packing. We moved quite a bit growing up and I am grateful for each of those new experiences in new places, but it has made me feel a bit homeless at times. It’s difficult to answer when people ask where you are from. My thoughts on home have evolved quite a bit as an adult, as thoughts tend to do. I feel secure in knowing that home for me is sometimes a place, but more often it’s people.
My husband and I moved far away from family almost four years ago. We decided to pack up and follow a call to North Carolina. We knew it was our next stop along the way. I have felt the strangest joy in being homesick at times since we’ve moved. I have never felt homesick before, through all of our family’s moves growing up, and now I am proud to say that not only do I miss our family, but I miss the place we left. I feel a connection to that place that is the result of the relationships we built there and the experiences we had. I am content now to know my home is wherever my relationships are.
Rumi said, “Rushes and reeds must be woven / to be useful as a mat. If they weren’t interlaced, / the wind would blow them away. / Like that, God paired up / creatures, and gave them friendship” (“Of Being Woven”). I am useful because I am woven and connected with those people in each place that I can come back to again and again. I am grateful for so many places to unpack.
Like leaving altars along the way
each place you’ve known to stop
I carry everything with me wherever I go
just unpacking a little bit and waiting
until I know to move on
to pack again
only leaving those signs of gratitude
at the places that are still holy
to those who are still there