"I've never come "home" to any place but Ohio. It's eerie how similar it feels. The list of places I want to eat and shop and visit growing in length as I visualize my way up and down streets and through neighborhoods. The number of people I want to see and spend quality time with quickly surpassing the number of days and ticks of the clock I have here. Funny how my idea of home has grown and evolved through the years."
As promised at the end of last week's blog post, I am coming to you from a "surprise location." (Although if you follow me on any form of social media, then I suppose it's not much of a surprise...) Anyways, this weeks I am writing from SEATTLE!
*****(quick catch-up paragraph)*****
If you are reading this blog for the first time and know nothing about my life, I just moved back to Ohio from Seattle about five months ago. I lived in Seattle for about three years as a nanny/church planter/lover-explorer of cities. When I left this summer, I promised my little Libsies/god daughter that I would come back for her fifth birthday. FIFTH! When did that even happen! I met this little gal when she could only say about seven words!
Yes. Seattle. My beloved Seattle. I have missed her sorely! My heart often longs for a gray, rainy, dreary day...but not just any old dreary day, a SEATTLE dreary day. Call me crazy, but they are just different here. My legs and feet itch for a long misty walk through the city and my eyes wish to be drawn upward by the buildings towering overhead. I miss the sound of the water in the distance and the 12 flags in every storefront and always smelling of coffee. I miss having a choice of premium, organic coffee beans on any given corner and my pick of fresh, fragrant, locally grown flowers just down the hill. I miss waking up to the sun rising over the city and falling asleep to the glow of the skyline peeking through my French doors. I miss cheering myself up with a jaunt to the Kate Spade store and lazy Saturdays spent window shopping and eating at my favorite little whole-in-the-wall cafe. I miss the music filled streets and the endless options in cultural cuisine. I miss the challenge of refusing to take bags and managing with just one for my entire shopping day. I miss my daily walks to work with my sweet little puppy and my adventures in our little city neighborhood with my forever favorite kids. I miss getting all of the Oscars movies...even the obscure ones...and watching and discussing and celebrating with friends. I miss organic puppy stores and TRADER JOES! I miss my 24 hour gym a couple of blocks from my apartment and long, interesting runs through the city.
Okay. I will spare you anymore of that. It's just hard to help myself. I ADORE this city.
I will always remember the phone call from my friend Josh, the summer before we all moved out here. He was interning a little bit outside of the city, trying to get acquainted with the place before we all moved our lives across the country. He called me after he had visited a spot called Kite Hill to tell me that this place was perfect for me...
He could not have been more right. Seattle IS my city. Jesus absolutely knew what He was doing when he led me here, although it didn't make much sense to me from where I was standing. But that's exactly what I have been trying to say in my last few posts. When I do my part to obey, He does MORE than His part by providing and protecting, and granting every little desire in my heart. Even the deep, buried ones that we might have never even said out loud. Even the ones that we have forgotten about. Yes, I had always wanted to live in a big city, but Seattle had never even been on my radar. Thank GOD He knows best! Not only did I end up with a spectacular job that has proved to be a gift and a blessing over and over and left me with west coast family, and also get to serve in a church where creativity and missions and authenticity were our main objectives, I also got to do it all in a city I fell in love with. A city made for hippies and free spirits like myself. Where vegetables are always accessible and hip and coffee is a religion.
I won't even go into all of the lessons I learned here and how much I grew. I could write a book just on those alone (actually that's in the works) but this place has claimed a permanent space in my heart.
My first big grown-up risk! My first cross-country move, first apartment lease and grown-up career! My first attempt at life in a big city....and without a car nonetheless!
I will admit that going back to Central Bible College always felt a little bit like going home, but that's college and college is in its own category. No. This is different. Seattle was the first time I made my own life and my own home. Walking away from here was one of the hardest things I have done to date. But walking away knowing in my heart how much I wanted to stay helped me know that walking away was the right thing to do.
I will end with this little teary-eyed moment from my first couple of days back in "my city." My first night here as I was cozying up and getting ready to fall asleep, I grabbed my computer to take care of a couple things. I selected the wi-fi icon expecting to enter the password to connect...only to find that my computer had recognized the network and was already connected. I cannot tell you the silly but profound joy that resonated through my bones in that moment. I've hear it said that "Home is where your wi-fi automatically connects."
This is home.
Of course Ohio will always be my first home and my first family, but I have learned through the years that home and family can be bigger than we often imagine. Home is not just where we grew up and where our biological family resides. HOME is where we automatically connect. Where we naturally sync with the environment and where we breathe and express ourselves effortlessly. Home is where we can put down roots and become and grow into ourselves. And most importantly, home is where we can always come back to knowing that none of the important things have changed.
I've been doing my best to not look back too much, and not focus so much on what I miss here. It's hard not to compare home to home, but I guess this gives me some new perspective. I guess what I have to learn, perhaps what we all need to learn, is that home makes us ready for whatever is next. It's okay to miss home and to reminisce about home and all of the things that we love about it, but we can't stay home forever. We have to go and explore and discover. And we can't always want to go back home just because somewhere else doesn't feel like home. Nope. That's precisely when we must press on. The challenge should always be to build another home wherever it is that we are. For me, when somewhere starts to feel like home, I start to get too comfortable and too complacent about life and that's usually my sign that I need to move forward. Because that's the thing, we shouldn't just look back at home, we should look ahead to home. Because home is always a possibility even when it seems we are So far from it in every way.
I can say with confidence (and perhaps a little confusion) that when I am home, I miss home. And a year from now when I am in yet another new home, I will continue to miss homes.
I don't know what home means to you or what it feels like to you, but let me tell you what, when you finally understand it, it's SO good to be home!
Coffee/hot chocolate date with sweet little Libsies post ballerina class.
Finally got to try out the brand new Starbucks roastery/tasting room on Cap Hill. This place has made me such a coffee snob. But I can't help it!
Finally got to eat my brown sugar cinnamon pop-tart with a great friend! It was worth the calorie splurge and even better to share it with this guy!
Two of my favorite things combined...Seahwaks and Starbucks! It doesn't get any more Seattle than this!
This boy. He has grown me SO much and brought so much joy to my life :)