Tuesday, September 23, 2014

home is where i'm with you

   I consider Kansas home - most days. ;)

   However, to all my friends that have grew up here their whole life - and watched basically everyone else around them grow up - I'm still a newbie. After all, it's only been four years since I detested the idea of living out here where I was related to everyone, but didn't know anyone else. I'm still new to all of the connections and old stories that can only be truly experienced as you live life alongside the people in your community. 

   Seven years ago, I had no idea that I would know any other state but Iowa as home. I'm glad I was wrong. 
   Five years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to make Iowa my home once again (in a different area, though) and get the heck out of Mississippi. I'm glad I was wrong. 

   Four years ago, I just wanted to move back to southern Iowa where all of my best friends were - where the bulk of my history was. Again, I'm glad I was wrong. 
   In Iowa, if I was being introduced to someone new, they would probably know my brothers. Here, in Kansas, most people don't even know that I have a brother. (I have two wonderful, handsome brothers, for anyone out there that didn't know.) 

   Today, I realize that every single place I've been - let alone the places I've lived - has built the roots that I call home. 

   Did you catch that last part? Where friendships flourish. 

   Now, recently, especially while I was in Ecuador this summer - I realized that I've missed out on a lot of some of my best friends' childhood. I wasn't around to see their first most embarassing moment in second grade or to walk alongside them through the awkward middle school years. It's true - I did miss out on a lot. 

   But there's something that I have that this community probably doesn't.

   On Saturday, my youngest brother got married. I know, I know. It's a beautiful thing, but it's still hard to wrap my mind around. That event is for more pictures on another blog for another time. :) 
    But over my long weekend...
    I got to tell some stories about growing up alongside people that were there.
    I got to hug necks that knew me before I could speak. 
    I got to catch up with a few of my brother's best buddies in high school that I was probably around more than any of the kids my age. Guys that were my second family and protective big brothers.

   It gave me a chance, for the first time in a long time, to appreciate my younger years and to not feel sad the next time that a story is shared around the youth group dinner table that I wasn't around to witness - because, in Iowa and Mississippi, I could sit around and tell story after story about the events that made me who I am. About the people that have made me who I am. There's a whole other world that I take part in when I leave the Kansas state line. People that my Kansas friends may never meet and stories they may never understand. 

  Stories about learning how to count with packets of jam at the Gas N' Grill and Saturday trips to the Dutchman's store. 
  Stories about riding bikes around our tiny town of two hundred. 
  Stories about wrestling tournament road trips with a van full of loud, teenage boys. 
  Stories about the kudzu of the south and singing pretend concert for hundreds every weekend with my best friend.  
  Stories about five feet of snow and The Lord bringing us out of a pit of dark loneliness. 

   The list goes on. 

   What's my conclusion? (because like any good Geometry problem, I need to sum it up for you.)

   Home isn't about a specific place. Home - for me - is where I can take my shoes off, feel safe, and at my friend's house where I know exactly where everything is in the kitchen. Home is in the familiar laughs of old friends and in picking up right where you left off. Home may be Kansas right now - because it's for such a time as this. Kansas may be where I hang my hat for years to come and I hope so very much that that is the case - but home is never just one place. 


   Home is a compilation of stories and people the made you who you are today. The good, the bad, and the possibly (most likely) very ugly. A town is where you run errands and lay your head - a home is where you grow and build the best relationships...and if we're in Christ, our future home destroys our wildest imagination. 

   So here's to you: 

  The people that have upheld your promise during my dedication (or as a part of the different church family's I've been in) to point me to Christ. 

  The people that have watched me grow up, given me grace, and loved my unconditionally. 

  The people that we still have relationships with, no matter the distance. 

  The people that will continue to give me grace as I stumble down this scary road of high school and onto college. 

  The people that truly care about me and portray that in huge or small ways. 

  The people that make anywhere I go - Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, the good ol' south, Colorado, Ecuador, or Uganda - HOME.

  I will cherish our memories and I anticipate thousands of stories He will write for us in the future. 

   In the meantime, I'll just keep writing my address in pencil. 

Peace out my friends,

More home roots blog inspiration credits go to "Take Me There" by Rascal Flatts (my all time favorite road trip band to play over and over back in the day). Check it out! 

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