I lived the first 18 years of my life in the same house on Seabury Lane in Bowie, Maryland. First the house was painted green, later yellow. We were a family of five children and two parents, later adding grandparents to the residential mix even as sibling after sibling went off to college, sometimes returning for a stint after graduation. (I’m the youngest.)
When I went away to college on the left coast in Portland, the Seabury Lane house was still home. As a young adult, I began to create my own home in Portland where I lived for 16 years until I entered community. But I still spent many holidays back in Bowie with the family. During the years when my mom was sick, the visits home were more and more frequent as my siblings and I provided a tag team support system. My Dad sold the family house about a year after my Mom died. I remember the last day I was there. I had a little ritual of thanksgiving, thanking God for everything the house had represented as home.
So where is home now? I’m often perplexed when people ask me where I’m from, or where is home. I no longer have family in Maryland. I have moved quite a bit since I entered community. My home CSJP Western region is Seattle, but I’m also at home in our Eastern region where I’m now living or in our UK region where I just had the pleasure of visiting. I just spent a few days in Portland for a meeting and visiting with friends. I have so much history there that it is also a place where I am at home. I just spent 2 1/2 years in Chicago for grad school and my sister and dad now live there, so that place also is special to me.
I have literally been all over the map the past month, travelling for community meetings and leadership/vocation related meetings and a conference and graduation and visiting family and friends and CSJP community. I’ve been in Seattle, Leicestershire and London, Chicago, and Portland. Each stop on the journey held elements of home — roots, connection, relationships, past, present, and future. This afternoon as I was on the last flight of this long trip, I found myself once again offering prayers of gratitude for the many places that are home to me, even as my understanding of home continues to shift and evolve.
And now I am sitting in my chair in my room in the place I currently call home. And it is good to be here, to stop moving and breathe deeply and sink into the present and presence of the people and place that right now make this community house my home.