It's finals week, and college students are eager to take exams, if for no other reason than to go home. Freshmen may return in January having discovered something a bit surprising–even unsettling. They may discover they now have two homes: one where the people they think of as immediate family reside and one where they live daily with new friends.
I discovered that phenomena sometime during my freshman year at Wartburg College. I felt at home with Mom, Dad and Jill; and I felt equally at home on campus. In fact the closer I got to graduation, my definition of "home" got quite broad–broad enough for me to feel at home with Mark (whom I married five days after earning my college degree) whenever and wherever we were together. In fact, we had no dwelling to share as our own for about the first month of married life. Truly, if we were together, we were home.
I've had few occasions to ponder the meaning of home since. In nearly 24 years of marriage, Mark and I have spent only a few nights apart and only two nights together while apart from our children. On that weekend outing 12 years ago, it took us nearly a day to feel comfortable without Stross or Skye–especially in a location that wasn't our home.
Well, last week I discovered something delightful: Home is also a way of being.
I hope you enjoy listening to what happened when I, a worst-case scenario planner, spent the first overnight of my married life in the home of my childhood without my husband and children along, and how my parents aided my plan to travel to a speaking engagement just after a nighttime snowfall but before a 24-hour blizzard.
Best of luck to all you taking finals. May you fully enjoy every minute back home–wherever that may be and whatever that may mean.