Fourth of July. Not my favorite holiday, but the food always seems to satisfy. BBQ. Potato salad. Burgers. Beer. Watermelon. A few of my favorite foods.
This year something interesting happened. All my fourth of July plans changed and I ended up going back to my hometown for a quiet weekend with my mom. A little bummed because I felt like I was gonna miss all the “activity” of the holiday. (I like to be BUSY! Slow pace makes me restless.) But somehow this year, going home felt appropriate. I had a sneaking suspicion that something important was going to happen. And i was right:)
I am a city girl that was raised on a farm. I don’t like to get dirty. I don’t like silent nights (Except for those darn crickets). I don’t like miles and miles of farm land and pine trees. I don’t like 1000% humidity. I don’t like gnats. I don’t like not having cable or wifi. (my mom hasn’t rolled with times) I don’t like talking about how “good” someones cotton field looks this year. So much I don’t like….. can you tell? I am a CITY GIRRRRL!
I moved to the city in 2011….not looking back once. Not one ounce of regret in my decision. I found my people. My homeland. Culture, face pace crazy traffic, excellent shopping, excellent food…the list goes on and on.
But somewhere in all of my city loving, my heart ached for “home”. The place you go back to that smells like home. Feels cozy like your oldest blanket. Food so good your soul sings. A pace so slow you can’t help but slow down and listen. The place where tears are shed in the middle of the night. Conversations happen over morning coffee. Endless hours of Gilmore Girls and 80’s comedies (usually Steve Martin the lead). The coziest of beds because the blankets are old and have been dried on the clothes line in the back yard. (All of this amazingness I realized after my departure in 2011 of course:))
I’ve lived abroad and I always had a home to come home to. It’s the safe place where I got to just be me. A place to fall apart as I adjusted back to life in America. Home. Meals were cooked for me with love. I was allowed to just go on and on and on with all the stories of people and places and God and what I was learning.
My mom moved out of our farm house in 2011. And renters moved in. ( I may have had a Goldilocks complex…someone was definitely sleeping in my room!) It was the weirdest feeling of not having a home to go home to. A range of emotions every holiday. I had no where to go that felt quite like home. I have spent many holidays with many amazing friends who are like family. But the heart always longs for home. Family. Tradition.
So this fourth of July, I got to go home. I was nervous. I had not stepped foot into our old house since I left in 2011. The timing was so perfect. My whole world shifted that weekend. I said goodbye to someone I love with my whole heart and went home. As I walked in the front door, a RUSH of emotion flooded me.
That weekend the most beautiful thing happened……. The very things I had run away from were bringing me so much comfort. I encountered the slow paced, let it all go, just be you, cry your eyes out, it’s safe here, let’s make some good food and talk and snuggle and sleep late and drink lots of coffee and talk some more feeling. And then some more. Home happened. I am crying as I write this because God has healed my heart so deeply in the past 5 years. And his gift to me was to go home again. He gave me a deep longing for home, but He did it by asking me to go on a journey with Him to the city. To leave it all behind.
It’s weird to go back to a place you left once you are healed. It’s like I had new eyes to see and experience everything. (I kept saying “Everything seems so little. The counters are so short. Was it always this small? Or did I grow?”)
My home life as a child was hostile and broken and heavy. It was a place I couldn’t wait to leave. And I found myself sad to leave this time. But with a hope that I have never experienced before. I know that holidays will be spent there now. It’s the place I dreamed my children would enjoy one day. It’s the “country retreat” we joke about.
It is a place. But it is also a person. God has been so faithful to heal my heart. My mom’s heart. And mend our relationship. Going home to spend time with her is a dream come true. She is so good at home. She is so good at love. She’s so good at so many things. And I am so thankful that she makes a wonderful, cozy home and opens it with so much love! So much I took for granted because my heart was hurting and broken. And so much God has restored in both of us so that home can happen again. The way He designed it to be.
I pray you all experience HOME. And that God heals your hearts to enjoy home. And the people at home. And make beautiful memories.
I am still a city girl. That may never change. But going home is now an adventure and a retreat. Good for the soul.
A few culinary treats from the weekend:)