1 plane ticket
Countless memories made.
Countless hours spent with friends.
That little list briefly sums up my February. If you've been following the blog at all, then you have noticed that literally ever single week I have been writing from a new location.
This week, I am coming to you once again from snowy, frigid, northeastern Ohio. This week, I am writing from home.
I have pondered that word many times before in my writing and often in my own personal reflection; home.
I've been wandering the US for almost the entire month of February. It was a great choice really. Escape from the arctic tundra for a bit makes me far more optimistic about surviving the remaining months.
It was actually wonderful to come home. It always is of course. But this time I was extra missing my bed and my puppy and my family. Even my routine (that's not actually much of a routine at this point.)
But I think there's much truth in the thought that, "You never know what you have/had until it's gone." For me, going away is a way to learn to love home more. To appreciate time I have with those closest to me because I know it's rare and precious and limited. I see people I love so much less often but I feel as if the time I have with them is deeper and more meaningful because there is less of it.
I don't know when I realized it exactly, but at some point in my journey through ministry school, I came to accept that my life was going to be lived far away from the people I loved most. That most often, those closest to me would be spread out widely around the world. So whether by choice, or just simply by living out the life that has been so graciously handed to me, I have resolved to make every single moment count, especially when I am able to be in the same time zone or city or room with people I love.
Something I have been convicted about lately A LOT is my lack of appreciation for my roots. So many times when people ask me where I am from, I sort of cringe and answer, Ohio. Too often I don't have anything great to say about where I am from, about home. I don't like that about myself. But old habits die hard, and it's been a challenge to slowly start to try and change this automatic response, the underlying thoughts, even the knee jerk facial expressions. But slowly, I am trying.
I don't know where or when my "dislike" of Ohio started really. It's not like I have anything against the place. It's a lovely place. Endless amounts of beautiful trees that are stunning in the fall, great childhood memories, some of the people I love most in my life...what's not to love? I suppose it has something to do with the lack of interesting things associated with Ohio and the lack of adventurous living that happens here. Perhaps it gets under my skin that people are not interested in leaving really and seem to think that here is enough. And the more years that pass and tag onto my life timeline, the more passionate desire I have to see the world...ALL of it...and to live every day as if it will be the adventure of a lifetime. And I suppose this part of me doesn't like to associate myself with a place that speaks nothing to that sort of perspective or personality.
But the truth is, in order to fully embrace the adventure-loving, live-life-to-the-fullest person that I have become, I have to embrace everything that made me this person. Every event, every person, every place that led me to here. That includes my small, simple, cookie-cutter town in the top, right-hand corner of the Buckeye state. It's where I spent the first 19 years of my life. It's where I learned how to walk and talk and sing and love and dream. Where I attended a church and formed my deep rooted belief in Jesus Christ, my moral code, and my faith foundation. It's where I was educated and where I fell in love with writing and English and literature. This is where I spent countless hours on the train tracks with my dad searching under rocks for bugs of all sorts and on wild flowers for caterpillars and butterflies. It's where I crafted with my mom and became a neat freak, a perfectionist, and an overachiever. Boardman is where I learned to read music and fell in love with it.
By the time I moved away to Springfield, Missouri to attend Central Bible College at the age of 19 (almost 20) I was very much me. I was very much this quirky, adventure loving, explorer. And I had never lived anywhere but here.
It seems I really should give Boardman, Ohio a little bit more credit.
It's taken a long time and a lot of getting to know myself, but I can honestly say that I like who I am. I love that I love life and that I do my best to draw everything out of it and see the lovely in every day and to feel and experience whatever I can and to go wherever and whenever I can and to say what I feel and what I mean. What I don't like is that I have failed to acknowledge and cherish my roots.
Being a lover of trees, I should have known this all along. Above ground, all we see is superficial. Whatever is most lovely and most spectacular about any given tree is only made possible by the roots sprawled out deeply below the surface. No matter how many trees grow in new locations from the seeds that let go and adventure on the wind, we must remember that it all began with one little seed that took root in one little patch of soil. The Redwood Forest would not be the magnificent, world renowned travel destination that it is if not for one little seed in one little patch of soil. In order for one little redwood to let go and venture out into the world, it has to have roots.
I am only the adventure-loving, live-life-to-the-fullest, embrace all of life gal that I am because of the one little seed in the one little patch of soil in Boardman, Ohio where I took root and grew and became.
Today, I am thankful to be home. I am thankful to be able to go and explore and discover but to always be able to return to Boardman, Ohio. Today I am thankful for my roots.