Three weeks after leaving Michigan, I finally feel like I’m settling into Chicago, but it doesn’t quite feel like home yet. I had hoped that unpacking our things and organizing the apartment would make it feel more like “home,” but instead I’m realizing just how true the old saying is. “Home is where the heart is.” Home is not where your stuff is because, even as our apartment transforms from a storage unit to a livable space, I still feel like I’m in a weird sort of hotel room. Instead, as we plan a trip back to Michigan for a friend’s wedding, we talk about going “home.”
I probably would have defined “home” as “where family is.” But Phil is here, so why doesn’t this feel like home? I think I still include my parents and even siblings in my concepts of “home” and “family” even though I haven’t lived with them for two years. Here in Chicago, we’re really starting to establish ourselves as our own, independent family. It’s an important (albeit difficult) transition in our life and relationship, but I think we’re going to grow in incredible ways.
The move has taken me out of a comfort zone that built up around me over the past several years. I had lived in the same area my entire life. I hadn’t had a new work environment in two years. I had attended the Rock Church for at least six years. The only “new” thing in my life was our brief but incredibly meaningful involvement at Fenton United Methodist right before we moved, but even there, we knew people before we started attending. Now I find myself in a completely new environment. I have almost no connections here, and it’s incredibly overwhelming at times. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I have to make new friends, new connections. It’s a surprisingly daunting task.
It makes me thankful for Phil. At least in the midst of this, we have each other. We’re finding our home here, slowly but surely. It may not be “home” quite yet, but I have a strong sense of belonging. This is where we’re supposed to be, and I trust that if God has brought us this far, He’ll bring us to a place we can call home.