Today marks the 3 month-a-versary of starting my new Brethren Volunteer Service position in Elgin, IL! It is difficult for me to believe that I’ve already been here for 3 months. I felt the same way when I was at my first BVS project for this long (or short, however you look at it). Something that I noticed as soon as I arrived in Elgin was that everyone was asking me the same question: “Where’s home for you?” This caught me off guard a little because most of the time people just ask you where you’re from. But ever since coming to Elgin the question has been re-worded to where I call home instead.
I didn’t even know how to answer. I call so many places my home. Of course my initial reaction is to say, “Bridgewater, Virginia!” Yes, Bridgewater was my home for nearly 15 years but I technically don’t live there anymore…so does that make it not my home anymore? Last year I lived in Sullivan County, New York. I called that my home for nearly one year…but I don’t live there anymore, so does that make it not my home anymore? Now, I live in Elgin…so do I call this my home?
These are challenging questions for BVSers. Where do we call home? We leave the safety of our original home to go and live somewhere else for a year or two or maybe even six or seven! Our year might take us to a new home, a new town, a new community. Then after that, do go back to our first home? Do we move on to another new home? And after all this traveling, where are we supposed to “call home”?
Here is my answer to where home is for me:
· Bridgewater, VA at my parents’ house with my two cats and our stunning mountain views.
· Wherever there is a campfire.
· Liberty, NY with my amazing Youth Economic Group members and Methodist church community.
· Wherever my friends are.
· Elgin, IL with my 5 housemates and a new Brethren church community.
· Wherever I sleep at night wearing my sweatpants and a watching a movie on my laptop.
· Camp Ithiel, where I had my orientation for BVS.
· Bridgewater College, in my room with my best friend, Katie Smith.
There are so many more! I realized that the “Where’s home for you?” question is a broad one. I am at home whenever I am happy. This might seem silly to others but it makes perfect sense to me. Although, I do think everyone can relate to the fact that wherever there is familiarity and comfort there is a sense of homey-ness.
I feel completely blessed when I think of ‘home’. I have been traveling a lot recently and in my travels I have found so many places that I can call home.
So whomever is reading this, I challenge you to pause and think about what the word home means to you. Maybe you start with where you live or one moment in your life when you were most happy. Would you call that home? Maybe home isn't an actual physical place but a state of mind. If you’re a faithful type, send a Thank you up to God. I also challenge you that anytime during your day or week that you feel at home, recognize the feeling and give thanks. In a world with riots, suffering, and natural disasters, take a breath of thanksgiving for the happy things in life.