Vacations are a strange creature. I was so excited about an adventure aboard the train going to New York and Vermont. I counted the weeks and then days until time to leave. I have always loved traveling by train and I was excited to visit my brother and friend, Donna. I must have packed and repacked 4 or 5 times. I shared some of my adventures along the way in my blog.
I arrived at the train station early only to find out the train was delayed almost an hour. I am not necessarily patient in these situations. I was anxious to get on board and begin my journey. I met a couple of folks traveling from Germany and passed the time talking with them. I was very excited to see Washington, DC, Baltimore, Md. , and New York City, even though I wasn’t stopping in any of them for long.
My first stop to visit my brother in Pooghkeepsie, NY was so much fun. We visited the Duchess County Fair, ate take out Thai food at the drive in movie, and walked almost 4 miles across the scenic Hudson River. Then it was off to Vermont. I hadn’t spent time with Donna in over 3 years so it was great to reconnect and visit as well as do some shopping in scenic Vermont.
Towards the end of the week, I started to think more about home. I had loved the trip but I was ready to come home. It reminded me of Thanksgiving. You know, you plan a meal and spend hours cooking and preparing the feast, put all the food out, dig in, and sometime just after you take that second serving of dressing and sweet potato casserole, you are just ready to stop eating and retreat to the couch to relax.
When people ask about my trip, I am excited to fill them in on the details but always end with, “But I am really glad to be home. “ Home is not so much a specific place, like my house, but it is here in my community of family, friends, and familiar places. It’s where I always go to the same hairdresser, doctor, grocery stores, restaurants, and more. It is familiar and comfortable; it is safe. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy kept telling everyone, “There’s no place like home.”
I grew up here in Charleston, SC and this place has always been home for me. I have moved away on numerous occasions. This place holds my memories and my heart. It has been and will always be a part of me. But I haven’t always felt as though I had a home. I have usually had a place to live that was my own, but so many didn’t feel like home. (Yes, there were two times in my life that I didn’t have place to live, but that is a story for another time.) Even my house growing up didn’t feel like a home. When I moved back here 15 years ago, I knew I had come home. My community of family and friends has been growing continually since then.
In the past couple of years, I have been coming home in another way. I am coming home to me. I am discovering who I am. I am learning to accept the person I am and can be. I spent so much of my life believing I wasn’t OK. In a post Coloring Outside the Lines, I talked about being the child and woman I was told to be. I knew it wasn’t me but “they” didn’t seem to like me. I tried so hard to keep coloring inside the lines and stay in my box.
I have come home to me. I want to spend the rest of my years here in this body learning and discovering all the amazing things that are me. I have opened my heart, mind, and soul to God and said, “OK, I get it. I am the one who turned away from You. I am the one who wasn’t able to accept the person you made me to be. So here I am. I am ready.”
I am building my community for this purpose. I am opening my mind to learn and see things I have closed my eyes to before. Wonderful teachers and new friends have come into my life. I have kept family and old friends who love me as I am and are excited to see the new things happening in my life. Some of them are a bit confused and I bet just a little worried at times, but they are loving me just the same. I recently left my job after twelve years and have no real idea what is coming next. I am sharing my secrets, my dreams, my ideas, and life with some of these people. Excitement, awe, and still at times, just a bit of fear fill my days.
In the The Wiz (1978), Glinda the Good Witch and Dorothy have this conversation:
Glinda the Good: Well, Dorothy, you were wise and good enough to help your friends to come here and find what was inside them all the time. That’s true for you, also.
Dorothy: Home? Inside of me? I don’t understand.
Glinda the Good: Home is a place we all must find, child. It’s not just a place where you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we’re always home, anywhere.
Maybe I have been on a rather long and odd vacation most of my life. All I know is that it was an adventure; sometimes great and many times very painful. But I have found my way home and I am so very glad to be here.