Well, it’s official. My husband has accepted a call to pastor a church and after 15 years of sojourning here in these United States we will be going back to Canada. That phrase, “going back,” while technically and geographically correct is actually misleading. Canada is a pretty big place, and while I have seen a lot of it, in the quarter century of my residency there I have only called a very small piece of it home. That very small piece happens to be on almost exactly the opposite side of the country from the place to which my husband has been called to serve. Imagine someone from Portland, OR living abroad for 15 years and then moving to Virginia, or someone from Perth living abroad and then moving to Sydney. It’s the same country and the same currency, but it isn’t the same.
I am being asked how it feels to go home, and my gut reaction is to tell people we aren’t. If, by home, the questioner means (and they usually do) family near by, driving roads by feel rather than navigating by signs and landmarks, inside jokes and special places, then we are not going home. We are going to something new to us, and with that comes the same cultural adjustments we had to make when we moved to Georgia, or St. Louis. We are not stepping back into something to which we were already accustomed. We are not going home.
However, I am checking myself on that response, because here is what is more true than those things: Lord willing we are going home. When our children bring friends home from college, this place to which we are moving will be that home. When my doodles have memories of childhood and special places and roads they can drive by feel, it will be in this place. This new place to me will be home. It will be those roots for which I have been longing for more than four years. It will be inside jokes and childhood memories and family gatherings around Grandpa’s table.
No, we are not going back to a past home, but we are going home, and making home. It will be all of those things people mean and feel and remember when they say “home.” We are going home, it just isn’t home, yet.