I had a wonderful time in the hills of West Virginia. It was good to see my parents and sisters along with my son and daughter-in-law. We celebrated my father’s 80th birthday and honored our mother on Mother’s Day. I spent a few additional days meeting with friends and family and it all was good to my soul.
Now that I have been home for over a week, I have taken the time to reflect and would like to offer a few takeaways.
I have come a long way.
Physically, the trip home is a 14 ½ hour drive of 998 miles or a 2-hour 20-minute flight. Going home takes proper planning as well as time. It takes conversations between the parties whether it be a family/friend, customer service representative or partner who will help facilitate the travel. It takes collaboration between partners to execute the plan of getting to your destination. Attention to detail is also vitally important when going somewhere. Missing an exit, or connection will delay and frustrate you. This happens in the physical and mentally. I made it physically over bodies of water, hills, and valleys. I flew through some clouds and rain, but I made it!
But physically making it is just a small part. Going back helps you to understand how far you have come mentally as well.
I remember the days when I could not imagine leaving my small town. The safety that comes with knowing everyone in your community and recognizing faces in the local Wal-Mart, seeing your kindergarten teacher at the Dollar store, or going to the park and knowing every dip and dent in the equipment at the playground was enjoyable.
But now I have come to appreciate the anonymity that comes in living in an area with 1.472 million county residents. It makes going to the store an in and out event because you will not be running into anyone you know. 😊
Going back gives you a new perspective about where you were and your current location. It is beneficial to have a clear picture of both.
There is beauty everywhere. Ones does not diminish another’s.
If you know me, you are aware of my love of pictures of the beauty of nature. And West Virginia’s beauty is overwhelming and remarkable. The splendor of each season is breathtaking and provides so many photographic moments. The lakes, streams, rivers, and mountains speak to you “capture me”. But Florida’s beauty is spectacular in different ways. I love how different flowers bloom all year long. The ocean is riveting and there are so many beaches to choose from. The tropical plants make the landscaping so pleasant and inviting. They are incredibly different but equally beautiful. There is no comparing them.
I should note that people should not be equated either. What makes one person beautiful does not diminish or take away from another. Yes, her skin is flawless, while ole’ girls’ hair is gorgeous. Yet another sister’s spirit soars, and love flows from her pores. We are not here for competition, rather for completion and proving that we all have something beautiful to bring to the world.
There is no place like home.
I agree with the age-old principal “there is no place like home”. But I also acknowledge that home is not a physical place. Home is wherever your soul can rest. Home is where you are loved, nurtured, and grow. I left my home in Florida to go to my home in West Virginia and returned to my home in Florida. Unfortunately, many experience living in a residence without it being home. Sometimes you outgrow home and need to move on to new ground, territory and terrain that will fuel expansion and progress in your life. At home, you can be yourself. At home, you can relax and remember or plan for the next step without feeling threatened or violated. Home is definitely “where the heart is” and cannot be traced or pinned down to a city, state, or nation.
There is comfort in the familiar, but it also brings with it discomfort. Trust the uncomfortableness and move on!
In West Virginia I slept in my old bedroom. While I have not lived with my parents in almost 27 years it felt very normal to go into the room and climb in bed. My parents have a grandfather clock and a windup clock that both chime on the hour. My father inquired if they would bother me as I attempted to sleep? It had been so long that I was not quite sure. To my delight I never heard the chimes. I fell immediately into the space and felt extremely comfortable. However, while I slept comfortably through the night, the next morning I felt very stiff when climbing out of bed. It seems that all though things were familiar there was also some discomfort. My body is used to my Purple mattress and could tell that I was not in it! If I decided to stay for months my body would eventually get used to the new mattress and conform. But the lesson to learn here is to identify the uncomfortableness and stop lingering.
You have grown past the old and took on something new and different. Just because you have entered a familiar place does not mean that you should unpack your bags, let down your hair and settle in. We often look past the uncomfortable because of the closeness of the people, place, and things involved. Acknowledge the uneasiness, and awkwardness of what was once your comfort zone and prepare to leave again. Do not stay because it is common. Leave because it is uncomfortable.
Going back should always leave you with reflections to think on and build from. Never leave empty.