Home is a little word packed with meaning. It is what we call our physical address, the GPS coordinates that identify where we keep our “stuff” on the planet. It’s where we tell people we’re going when we leave work or school, the location we choose to rest our weary heads at the end of a long day. I looked up the word home in the dictionary and all the expected definitions were there: permanent place of residence, a family or social unit occupying a place, a house or apartment, etc. But one definition caught my eye: a place where something flourishes. Isn’t that true?
Talking about home at this time of year conjures up visions of families around the dinner table for holiday meals and the way people usually come together to celebrate the season. It also brings to mind those who, unfortunately, are without a place to call home – a sad reality that I wish I could change. Home is different things to different people, but I think it typically is a place of belonging.
The word home has been in my thoughts a lot these days. It’s not a big secret that I don’t like being cold, am not a fan of snowy weather, and prefer flip flops to almost any other form of footwear (second only to no footwear). So, living in Colorado has been a bit of a climate adjustment. Sometimes I’ve handled it well and other times I’ve cried or screamed (inwardly) about being here. It’s also been an adjustment because of the circumstances that brought me to this place. Going somewhere completely by choice is a far cry from packing up and moving so family can be around your loved one as he is dying. Colorado has it’s good points of course: the goodness of family and the comfort of people who care about me. And, by definition, I can say I’ve begun to flourish here in new ways.
There is only one place I’ve ever lived, however, that feels like home. That would be [insert drumroll] Florida. From the time I arrived there I felt as though I belonged. Even though we didn’t really know a soul when we pulled up in the driveway of a rental house we’d found online and rented without ever stepping foot inside, I knew I was going to flourish in that place. Fort Myers was truly the first place we ever put down roots and felt a sense of community. The sunshine, tropical temperatures, and proximity to the Gulf helped a lot too. Those are big draws for someone who doesn’t enjoy cold toes! When I think about Colorado or Missouri I have fond memories of fun family times and days spent with friends, but if I hear “home” attached to those places I picture the dwelling places – the houses and apartments we lived in. When I think about Florida I have those same fond memories of friends and family and times shared with people, but when I hear the word “home” it is far more than a house or a condo. I feel sea breezes, sand under my feet, the salt water on my skin, the sunshine and warmth all year long. I remember that there I share a playground with dolphins! I think of the sense of belonging I had. My home there was everything that surrounded me, not just the four walls that sheltered me.
Lately, my true home has really been tugging at my heart again, so I plan to get there in 2013 and re-establish those roots that were pulled up unexpectedly. Until then, I’m following some advice I’ve received, to enjoy where I am until the time comes to move on, cold winter weather and snowstorms included. So, I’ll work on blossoming and flourishing here until I can get back… home.
My Heart’s Home = Joy