Thursday, January 8, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

I thought you all might enjoy some sunny, brightly colored pictures - a bit of my January yard for your January.

Despite all the bright colors about me, I must admit I've been in a bit of a funk over the last few days. I'm feeling better today - coming out of it by and by - but it's never fun. I suffer from a serious case of homesickness, despite having lived here the last 5 years. Now, don't worry, I'm not about to bash Florida. It has its pluses - number one being the weather. Especially when home is in Minnesota! :) For those who know of my longing to return to the northland, they usually want to point out the obvious: but it's so COLD! Yes, I know. And I am cold-natured, so that's even worse. But I don't want to go home for the weather. I want to go home because it's home.

Just for the record: I would like to point out that France shares the same parallel as Minnesota and I don't think I've ever heard people say, "You want to go to FRANCE?! It's so COLD!"

To tell the truth, I didn't even realize it was home until I left it. See, I have lived in many places in my lifetime. Yes, I was in MN the longest, but it wasn't as if I was born and raised there. So, I was most certainly surprised to discover this continued longing for what I have come to understand as a feeling for home. Of course, a big piece of it is family. But what I have also come to understand is that it is also regional culture - the ways of doing things, the foods, the humor... all of it. If you ever listen to NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion," you will come to understand the things that I miss. You may not totally "get" why I miss it, but it just boils down to the fact that these are "my people." All those Germans and Czechs and Scandanavians and Lutherans and the "ya, you betcha's." No, I don't even say that, but that's what I'm used to having around me.

I watched Frontline the other night and they were showing a documentary about one man in his eighties who is re-building his home in New Orleans. His family is scattered all over the country thanks to Katrina. They interviewed one of his daughters who has been displaced to Texas. She still lives there now,because she has two small children and New Orleans just doesn't have anything for her to go back to presently. Except that it's home. She was talking about her own homesickness and how she misses her people and customs.

I have visited New Orleans. It was not a place I would like to live. But I understood her completely. I appreciated her tears too, because I guess it validated my own and helped me realize that it is perhaps not so unusual... to live with a kind of ache inside of you that just won't seem to go away... and all for a place. I guess because I didn't grow up with a real feeling of being rooted somewhere, as I mentioned, this has taken me a bit by surprise. I am used to missing my family, but the piece of place is newer.

I have always been curious when folks move away from the place they've grown up in to a new place that they find fits them so well and it becomes their adopted home. I have a new neighbor who has returned here with her family from San Francisco so that her children can grow up nearer to their grandparents - one set here and another in Alabama. "But," she said, "I'll go back to San Francisco someday. That's where my heart is - that's home."

So, her place is not attatched to her family, but instead is a place that welcomed her in a way and felt right for whatever reason. It's just an interesting phenomenon to me.

It was good weather today for a bike ride to the park to meet up with a few freinds for a while today.

I have to say, that in the midst of my longing for community and a place that feels like home, the blogging community has been somewhat of a lifeline to me. I am continually amazed at the number of people I meet and the blogs I visit that share so many of the same interests and concerns that I do. I acutally find this a bit shocking, because I so often feel like an island in my real life. In fact, I don't think I can say that I know anyone, personally, who shares my passions for homeschooling and a vegan diet and a strong faith and the environment and has more left-leaning political tendencies and likes to knit. I mean, you pretty much come to realize that you can't possibly expect to meet someone who shares so many of your interests. But, believe it or not, I have met bloggers who like all of these things!! It is so surprising to me and such a delight to find them and read their pages. I love to see books that they enjoy, because I know I will like them too. It is almost spooky, to begin with, to see that we have nearly identical bookshelves, but it becomes a real treasure to find that they can recommend something new!

I have found many of these people through comments left here and by looking at those who list themselves as "followers" of my blog. What a treat! I am so thankful to all of you who have done that and have introduced yourselves to me by this unique tool. I am really loving getting to know you through your own writings and photos. As a child who was an avid pen-paller, I think blogging is such a natural fit for me. During a time in my life when I have struggled to build community that I long for and to live out the kingdom, I am ever grateful to each and every one of you who have offered bits of conversation and have added another dimension to my life. When I have not found that I have "fit" into certain areas of my life here, I am thankful to be able to come to a place that no matter where I am - wherever I go - feels very much like home.

I was on a blogging hiatus this summer during my 2 year "blogaversary" and so I never did get to say anything about this. So, thank you, friends. :) Thank you for nearly 2 1/2 years of making this place home.

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