Sitting in our house in Lakewood, Colorado and contemplating ‘home’ as I enjoy the many dragon flies zipping around the back yard. Don’t ever remember there being so many as there are this year, maybe they liked the weeds and mess of our yard? Though it’s probably a larger scale event and has to do with rain and weather and such. Still, they’re beautiful flittering here and there, iridescent wings shimmering. It’s quiet too. Well, not really quiet, I can hear neighbor dogs barking. But after the constant background noise of Budapest, it seems quiet. My heart needed this ‘rest’. With major yard work going on our bodies are not really getting that same rest. There have also been a hundred and one little projects to do around the house, things pile up when you’re only in residence once a year in a house you own. Things the five young men living here just don’t notice or shouldn’t be worried about anyway. It’s our home, they’re just renting. Even if two of those boys are our own sons. Not much of our house looks like it did when it was fully our home, our only home. But the back patio and gardens still retain a familiarity, and it’s there that I can breathe deep and enjoy moments of feeling at home.
I feel at home in a growing number of places it seems. I miss Budapest, and our flat there (sorry, apartment – lots of time spent with British friends or friends who speak British English tends to rub off), our dog-walking route and neighborhood. I miss our daughter Danny who stayed behind in Budapest to have a real summer ‘break’, and our son Joshua who is working at a Christian Conference Center in Austria in a program called Summer of Service. I’d once envisioned our whole little family together this summer, back ‘home’ in Colorado. And yet, Danny is home, and Joshua is in a place of such meaning and familiarity for our whole family that it often feels home-like as well. Home has slowly evolved for me, through all our family’s moves and adventures. Norbert found the perfect sentiment on a wall tin at the Szeged Days festival back in May, it’s hanging in our kitchen in Budapest now and says, “Home is where I am with you” over a picture of an old RV camper. I miss people often, and yes, special places too. I often miss the comfort of old familiarity and knowing the exact rhythm of a place you’ve lived in for too many years to count. And yet, on the flip side, our life is filled with amazing experiences, friendships and memories from times spent being at home in many locations, experiences you don’t get when just visiting. We’ve put down roots in more locations than might be ‘normal’, and that has made our life richer than I’d ever imagined. And each time we step into an airport, we leave behind some bits of our hearts, while also taking them with us – enlarging our hearts, our circle of friends and our concept of home.
I ponder all this as we look ahead to changes we’re making next summer. A whole year away, and yet already in motion and already tugging my heart in various directions. We’ll be making a temporary move to live in a little guest house behind my Grandma Willson’s home in Reseda, California, being near my Grandma and enabling her to keep living independently as long as possible (she’s 89 this year). It will also, wonderfully, allow us to be near Danny as she begins college in the western US and Josiah will be moving with us, living in Grandma’s 2nd bedroom and following his dream of working for Disney. We haven’t lived with Josiah since he left Hungary in 2013 to finish High School back in Colorado. Joshua is still making his plans, but will most likely remain living in our house here in Colorado and attending college nearby. We plan to leave our ‘stuff’ all in Hungary, in our flat there, moving with only suitcases and our dogs and making one or two trips a year back to that home, a reverse of what we’ve been doing the past few years with trips to Colorado. I ponder what a third ‘home’ will do to my heart. And yet, in a strange (or maybe not) twist to this endeavor, I am going ‘home’ in many ways.
I grew up in my Grandma’s house, my family lived there when my grandparents traveled the US in their RV and did mission work all over the country in a program called MMAP (Mobile Missionary Assistance Program), I attended 1st-5th grade in the school down the street. And as adults Norbert and I lived nearby for three and half years, from July 1997-November 2000, Danny was born during that time. It is, in a real sense, a return home for a season. And like the quiet of our backyard here in Lakewood, my Grandma’s house, while in the middle of the congested beyond belief San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, is also a tranquil haven of quiet, with crowing roosters and horse sounds as her neighborhood is zoned for livestock. My heart longs for that quiet, just as it’s soaking up the quiet here in Lakewood. And my heart sings at the chance to be close to all our kids for a season (and yes, after living so far away, the distance from LA to Denver seems close indeed!). We don’t know how long we’ll be living in Reseda, but suspect for at least 2-3 years. In fact, there is much we don’t know. We want to continue hosting our retreats twice a year. We don’t have an exact moving date yet, just next summer, after Danny graduates from ICSB. I feel like I was ‘given’ a song about a month ago. God has often used songs to speak to me, to encourage me or to prepare me for something. It’s a twist on the classic hymn It Is Well With My Soul, called, It Is Well by Bethel Music. While so much is positive about these plans, and I have much to rejoice about…it is still a move, it is still a leaving of friends and one home for another. And I am tired. It has been a long five years in Hungary with much emotional exhaustion, much that has tried me as a parent that I never foresaw. I see God’s hand in giving me a place to rest and be refreshed for a time, a sort of ‘furlough’ back in the US. And yet before that starts we have to leave, and I don’t look forward to that, at all. And so, a beautiful reminder that It Is Well….through it all, through it all, it is well. I can almost hear the dragon flies singing along, dancing in trust of their Maker, no worries as they enjoy our yard, their home right now. They are home where they’ve been placed, and it is well.