Many of you know that "The Wizard of Oz" is my favorite movie and all things Oz at least pique my interest. For years, I believed wholeheartedly in the all the quaint sayings for which the movie has become famous, including the conclusion that Dorothy comes to after her journey to Oz. As she wakes in her bed and tries to convince everyone that she really was gone she finally says,
"Oh, but anyway, Toto, we're home! 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 -- Oh, Auntie Em -- there's no place like home!"
There are days where I cling to those lines and want to cry out, "I'm not going to leave here...because I love you all!" Durham/Chapel Hill has been a rich, rich place of community and family for me. My mom grew up in Durham. I grew up visiting my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins here and in smaller towns nearby. I had four glorious years at UNC-Chapel Hill. I found new friends and an extended family in them as I planted deep roots first in Chapel Hill, and in the last few years, in Durham. I've been part of two churches that have nurtured and encouraged my heart. I am by all accounts a Carolina girl, tried and true. North Carolina is home.
Or at least I thought.
Because right up against all of this is my ecstatic desire to be with Jason and to be his wife. This new adventure of marriage is one that I have looked forward to my entire life. This weekend, I will get to spend more time getting to know his family...my family, really. And I love that! I love that I'll have more sisters, and finally brothers, and nieces and a nephew. I personally think, the more family the better!
The question for me these days is, where is home? There's a constant tension in my heart between longing for Jason and Texas, and grieving the loss of friends, family and North Carolina.
In an offhanded remark in her email, a friend set me at ease,
"I remember when I moved > 1000 mi from home. See, 'home' is wherever the two of you decide to be. I"d go anywhere, as long as my husband was there. I'd wither and die without him. At least I feel like I would."
So there it is. Words for what my heart has been seeking. I still agree with Dorothy. There certainly is no place like home. It just looks like this is a season where I'm going to leave one to find another. And then I'll have two. How lucky am I?