I didn’t spend the holidays at home this year. It was weird. The day after Christmas, I wrote down these words in my journal:
It’s December 26—the day after Christmas. I didn’t go home for Christmas this year. In fact, I’m sitting in Little Rock, Arkansas in a hip little coffee shop listening to an acoustic soul station on Spotify, drinking a latte, and looking out the window into a city that isn’t my own. Christmas was low-key this year, relaxing. I enjoyed the different pace. It felt weird not to be home. I missed my family, and my sister who was in town. If I would sit and think about it for too long, a tinge of sadness would brush through. The idea of missing out, on anything really, can let a sense of desperation hover over your head like a damp towel. Have you ever felt it? The sting that you’re missing out on something?
Strangely enough, though, every time I would sense the pinch, an odd feeling would set in—almost like a distant peace. And when I listened close enough, I would hear God whisper gently to my heart, “home is not where you are, it’s where I am.”
Today is December 29th, and I just woke up in my new apartment. I’ve been living in a dorm since August. I had a love/hate relationship with it. Campus life is fun and busy and always buzzing with conversations and relationships. All my friends were a hop-scotch away, and I was finally getting used to not having my own space. Learning to share…everything…can really humble you.
As I moved my final boxes last night and laid down on my new bed, I didn’t hear girls rustling around outside my door. I didn’t tell my roomie goodnight as I gave her a run-down of my day. I didn’t run into any conversations as I went to the bathroom. I was…alone. For the first time in a long time, loneliness invaded my space. I kept myself busy with unpacking and cleaning in an ever-too-quiet apartment until I fell asleep. Silence was weird, but I appreciated it once I woke up this morning.
I opened my eyes yet again in a room I was unfamiliar with to a bed that hasn’t yet become my own. As the sting of strangeness and newness began to press against me, I looked out the window and couldn’t help but notice something particular about my view:
Did you catch it?
I wonder if when I rearranged my bed yesterday, God had me place it in the exact angle where I would see the electricity pole as a gentle reminder of grace. Silly? Maybe. But this morning I was reminded…
“Home is not where you are, it’s where I am…
…and remember: I am always with you.”