In college, I knew it was a turning point when, during my sophomore year, I caught myself saying, "It's time to go home," referring to my relatively new home at Furman. I had lived in Wilmington for 18 years and called the same house home for 16 of those. But eventually, people seem to make new places home for me.
Well, last weekend, I again found myself claiming a new place as home. As I prepared to leave Wilmington after Thanksgiving, I knew it was time to go home. I thought about this concept on the drive, and wondered what it was about this place that makes it feel like home. Was it the way I can drive down my street and wave at neighbors as I enjoy their new Christmas lights? Or the fact that I know the gas stations with the cheapest gas or don't have to use my GPS for every trip I make to friends' houses?
After my drive, I looked up the definition of home, and found it labeled as "the social unit formed by a family living together." Well, yes, that sounds about right. But, when I kept scrolling, I was struck by the definition of "at home," which reads, "relaxed, comfortable, at ease, or in harmony with the surroundings."
I feel like Raleigh has become home. Or rather, I feel at home in Raleigh. My home at the Daniel's house is a place of rest and warmth. My home at StepUp Ministry is a place where I feel comfortably challenged. My church home at Apostles is a place where I am encouraged and never just a number. My home with the Fellows is a place where I am known deeply and loved even deeper. I feel like I am living in harmony with my surroundings--the people, the places, the experiences. They are all flowing together into such a beautiful harmony it honestly makes me a little sad thinking about leaving this place in a few weeks for Christmas.
I will always love and claim my first home in Wilmington. And I am so very thankful for my home at Furman for the last four years. I have been known to say, "I wish all the people I loved lived in the same place." But, home is not always a place. Home is sometimes a feeling, a knowing, an experience. Home is harmony. And during this season, the Lord has brought harmony in Raleigh, North Carolina.