"It's so good to have you home!" an old family friend said to me as he hugged me at my father's funeral. He said it tenderly, but poignantly, like I have been tardy and missed; like I'm somewhere where I do not belong and am only serving temporarily. We stayed in Isaac and Anna's home. Luke and Kelly joined us for one night and we hung out together warmly. It was like home. So many places in the Twin Cities evoke deep memories; like when Martha and I visited United Hospital in search of a sick friend. Memories gushed up about our daughter's battle with cancer as a 12 year-old. Whew!
Being with my brother and his family after the committal service, with all the grandchildren gathered around eating and watching a video of my dad...felt like home. But I was anxious and eager to get back to Santa Barbara, where we own no house or property, but it's home. I'm not always sure of California ways, but it's home. When the plane we took from Las Vegas made its landing late Friday night through the marine layer fog, I knew I was home. It's where I belong. It's where I have a task and a calling. It's where I have purpose and passion.
I loved growing up in St. Paul and then returning to Minneapolis. I have only fond memories of 1st Covenant Church and Salem Covenant Church. But neither place is home any more. They once were, but not now.
I envy those who never leave. I envy those of my friends who still live in the neighborhoods and cities in which they were born and grew up. I envy their stability and certainty. They know their area and their neighbors. But I wouldn't (or maybe couldn't) trade situations for the homes I've been privileged to have: St. Paul, Chicago, Northbrook, Lafayette, Indiana, Muskegon, Michigan, New Brighton, Minnesota and now Santa Barbara, California.