Sunday, June 12, 2011

You're Home Now

“This was a real, truly live place….I remember that some of it wasn’t very nice…but most of it was beautiful. But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was, I want to go home. And they sent me home… And this is my room – and you’re all here! And I’m not going to leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all! And – on Auntie Em! – there’s no place like home.” Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

Raising children in one corner of the United States, when everything I knew and loved best was 3,000 miles diagonally in the other corner was hard.

When parenthood overwhelmed me, I needed my mommy but this was before MMB, FB, AOL or IM (“long-distance” meant an expensive phone call and “leavin’ on a jet plane” was still exotic enough that the radio played songs about it).

And where were my friends? After high school or college, we’d scattered like the children of Israel.

Not only was this emotional terrain challenging to me, I refused to get comfortable with the physical environment. Palm trees, in my opinion, could never replace evergreens, and water in the air could never compare to water from the sky.

It scared and dismayed me--being so far from “home”.

This sickness turned toxic when it began to affect the precious relationships that had taken me to Oz: my in-laws, my children, my husband. At that point, Heaven knew it was time to intervene for their sake as well as my own, so a good fairy was sent on the errand; an angel named Aunt Athlene, my mother’s sister.

We talked for a long time over the phone —I mean, I talked for a long time, and she listened. After my whimpers were extinguished with just the right dose of sympathy, she turned me upside down with this profound perspective:

What you need to understand, darling,” she began gently, “is that you do not have “A” home. Rather, you have many homes -- or you WILL have many homes -- as a woman. There will always be the “home” of your childhood, but you also have the “home” of your college years; the “home” of your early married life; now another “home” of your young family life; and perhaps another in your mature years. They may even put you in a “home” when you’re an old grandma like me!”

She laughed.

“You will see with time,” she continued, “that each “home” in your life becomes saturated with its own memories, its own traditions and its own purpose. Think about this: your babyhood home must have felt very strange -- so different from the one you left in heaven – but aren’t you glad you made THAT move?”

I have mused a lot this week over that advice from long ago: in ten days we are leaving this little London flat for our three-story house, and I can hardly believe it was thirteen months ago I was leaving the U.S. for a place called England.

Experiences still too fresh to be called 'memories' are flooding me like the waters of the Red Sea on the armies of Pharaoh; I could almost drown in them. It is comforting to know that most of those experiences have been packaged in words and photos, blogs and journals. Even so, it is discomfiting that the flesh of it all, the people, cannot be shipped with the furniture. The only place for them is in my heart.

Aunt Athlene was right: life is all about creating a home, wherever you are and for however long, and the sooner you accept that and get on with it, the faster you can grow and the more love there is in the world.

So say it I must: good-bye wonderful London --you're (another) “home” now.

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”
Maya Angelou

Muse with me: are you "home"?

Click on the ruby slippers to watch a music video you may get as hooked on as I have:
"There Is No Place Like Home"


maritza said...

You mentioned" You're Home Now" Is fascinated note on you Blog Mona. I will miss you! Friends are precious! You are precious. Yes! our home is where are heart is!Gracias por su amor and services,around the world specially London. I hope one day you visit Colombia. Love both of you Mona and Dale. from my son Christopher and your eternal friend, I will always remember you Love you Maritza Ps see you later.

John and Laura said...

I have made peace with raising my little family so far from grandparents (well, most of the time), but viewing this place, this phase as another "home" is a very healthy perspective for me. So thank you. I hope to run into you again soon!

Unknown said...

I was really homesick this weekend because I was missing events and worried about family troubles. After experiencing a self-imposed miserable day yesterday, I knew today had to be different. I asked a new friend in my ward if I could spend the day with her. I am so glad I did! Today was one of the best Sundays I can remember because I involved myself in my ward "home". People know me because of today. I am obtaining a supplementary family within my ward, and I love it! I will always miss my childhood home, but this new home is beginning to grow on me!

Have a safe trip. Love you!

Anonymous said...

This is so true, each of the places I've been blessed to call home has had its apparent blessings and those that come in the form of challenges.

Right now we're looking for a new home. We have no idea if it will be down the road or across the country. It's kind of a scary feeling but I am grateful to know that wherever we wind up we will be where the Lord wants us and will be blessed with church members who become the extra aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and cousins that we will cherish and love and learn with.

ldsjaneite said...

I am. Which is a big thing for me, since I did NOT want to settle in UT. But it's where the Lord was leading me, and now I'm making it my home. And I look back at the 12 places I could consider home, and see that they all were home. I guess moving a lot has helped me learn to make where I am home--my parents helped me with that! Especially the sign we had above our door: Bloom where ye are planted.

What I don't like is now the most common question I get is "where are you from" or "where do you call home?" I can't say! Because home is so many places. So many places and their experiences and memories make me who I am. I'm always grateful for the places the Lord has led me.

I'm going to miss your London/travel posts! But what a wonderful place to have had for a home for a time.

Domestic Diva said...

I can't imagine not being able to talk to my mom everyday ): Oh, Mona, I remember my mom telling me the same feelings when I was young. How much she missed Utah and her family, and the home of her youth, but was creating a new home to love in the meantime. I haven't moved around as much as you-but the military has moved us three times already in our four short years of marriage, and it is a lesson to be learned creating a home in different states, making new friends and leaving them to start over after such a short time. I really enjoyed this post, thank you. I related-lots.

Evan said...

Isn't getting back home the whole point of this life on Earth? We ought to feel some degree of homesickness or dissatisfaction with wherever we happen to be living because it's all a poor shadow of the glory we are striving to return to. Heaven lies about us in our infancy and we will only able to feel perfectly at home when it lies about us again.

crumbcrunchersmom said...

Although I'm not one to like moving around (never moved once from birth to college graduation) moving is such a boost for personal change. New friends, new ward, new feel free to take a huge leap forward when no one knows who you are. I think that's fun! But not fun enough to actually move, though - we're staying right where we are for many years to come.

Sara Lyn said...

I've always admired people who looked "at home" everywhere they were. And I am so grateful for those, like you, who've made my home their home. Makes my home more homey. :)

Brent and Emily said...

Home is where my honey is. I can make do pretty much anywhere as long as he's with me. In fact, our song is Billy Joel's "You're My Home".

Be safe and be getting that current home of yours ready for us. We're coming whether B likes it or not! ;)

Bri... only she said...

reminds me of a conversation you and I had on the phone when I first moved to Utah. Now, Grant and I feel so comfortable here! Last night on our way home from taking our last finals in Salt Lake I was marveling at the tall white mountain peaks set behind rolling green hills and a peachy sunset reflecting off everything around us. I think I have a new home. It took three years to appreciate it, but now it's difficult to think of moving on in a few years. I can't wait for our son explore the unique beauty of Utah with us!

Bri... only she said...

OH Evan! I LOVE your comment! How is it you think more poetically than the rest of us?!

Evan said...

Give Wordsworth the credit. All I did was place his beautiful poetry in this context.

Bonnie said...

Mona this is such a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your wise aunt's advice. I have a daughter in California who is feeling very homesick right now. I've struggled with how to council her. Thanks! I'm sending her to this post!

Now, how do I ever get over my own homesickness for heaven? Sometimes it nearly overwhelms me with longing. I'm going to read and then re-read your thoughtful post!!!!