Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Home is such a comforting word. It signifies warmth, love, family, the smell of homemade bread, and safety. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful family life growing up, so home was always a refuge from the storm, a place where I could find peace and relaxation when school kept me extremely stressed, a landing pad that was always soft and cuddly.

But there comes a time in everyone's life when you must break free of your sanctuary and start on your own path. I've moved eight times in the last five years, and I've spent a lot of time trying to reconcile my own "home" situation with what I thought home should be.

There's a song in Beauty and the Beast (not the Disney version, unfortunately) that poignantly captures the cold emptiness I've felt almost every time I moved, whether I was embarking out on a new adventure or returning to my house of upbringing for a spell.

Is this home? 
Is this where I should learn to be happy?
Never dreamed that a home could be dark and cold.
I was told every day in my childhood,
even when we grow old:
"Home is where your heart is."
Never were words so true.
My heart's far, far away.
Home is too.

Every time I moved, I felt like I was leaving a piece of my heart behind. When I moved to Provo, I missed the peaceful familiarity, the lack of stoplights and sidewalks, and the smallness of Elk Ridge. When I moved to Midvale, I missed the rugged mountains, the small-town charm, and the Cougar spirit of Provo. I missed my family, my roommates, old ward members. No matter how anxious I was to move on with my life, for a time I always longed for things to go back to the way things were. I didn't want to redefine home.

Home's a lie.
What I'd give to return to the life that I knew lately.
But I know that I can't solve my problems turning back.

So sometimes, I was content to have two "homes"; one where my heart was, and one where my stuff was. 

As my life has been altered once it can change again.
Build higher walls around me,
change every lock and key.
Nothing lasts, nothing holds all of me.
My heart's far, far away.
Home, and free.

But at some point, you have to decide that home is where you are, rather than locked away someplace you would rather be. It bothered me for a lot of years that I couldn't be "home" when I was with my family for an extended period of time. Even though that was where my heart was, eventually I would start feeling antsy, depressed, and a host of other emotions that I hadn't associated with home before. How could home be where my heart was when it didn't feel right to be there?

So I consoled myself by saying, "Your home and your heart will be reunited some day. When you get married the natural balance of things will be restored."

But I was missing the key point of the oft-turned phrase "home is where your heart is": home doesn't have to be a designated corner of the world. It doesn't have to be a place where you can drop your belongings and kick off your shoes. It doesn't even need to be a place at all; home is as much a feeling as it is a place. I've found that even if I want to be somewhere else, I can find home when I'm reading Harry Potter, playing the piano, or hanging out with people I like. I've found home at work, in my hobbies, and in the great outdoors.

Home is a pretty good place to be. Just like happiness, it is never too far away.

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