Defined in the dictionary as: the place where one originates, permanently resides, or flourishes.
This year I've realized that home is much more than just a location or four walls and a roof.
It's a feeling deep within. A warmth. A sense of belonging. A deep comfort.
Home is where my heart is.
The unique part is that my heart isn't just in one place anymore.
This past year I've found my home in Haiti. It's been the most intense combination of emotions all jumbled together in one: love, joy and hope, struggle, loss and questions. It's been heart-wrenching and it's been full of joy. It's been overwhelming and yet I still want more. It's been a year full of both the best and worst moments of my life. It's become such an integral part of who I have and am becoming that it will always have a chapter in my life. It's the children who call me by name in distant villages. It's the new 'family' I've become a part of, and it's the blessing that comes from living alongside a people who inspire and encourage me more than I ever dreamed.
Haiti has been a catalyst of change in my life. It's altered my perspective on a lot of issues, and it's made me realize how abundantly blessed I am.
In a very short time, Haiti has captured a piece of my heart. I have found 'home' in Haiti.
And yet, this summer, I have come back 'home'.
Returning to Canada has been one of the most anticipated and refreshing moments of my whole year. It's been so freeing to to drive around this land and take in the beauty of the lush green, wide open spaces. To see the sun set in the distance... The same sunset I've watched all my years growing up in Wainfleet, it's such a heartwarming feeling. Cruising in Niagara Falls with my family and laughing at our goofy car. Reuniting with friends and catching up on all of the ups and downs of the past year... Despite the months that have come and gone, it feels like I never left. It's a place of connection for me. All year long I've held onto memories and pictures and once again I get to live these days out. I love it so much I have to pinch myself to make sure it's real. I feel so blessed to be back in the place where it all started. There is so much for me to love about this 'home'.
So this is where I find myself... I'm caught in between two beautiful places. Two parts of the world that bring me such a fullness in my heart, yet in completely different ways. It's difficult knowing that no matter where I go, there will always be a someone, somewhere or something that is missing. It's sad to think that I will have to go through life with a missing piece, but I know these pieces will unite in heaven someday.
I also find peace knowing that Jesus understands my feelings. He knew me before I was born and He created these beautiful places. He designed before the beginning of time where I would go and what I would do, and He brought me across the distance to reveal His glory and whisper His song into my heart.
And I think that's the bottom line. Home is where I find myself truly connecting to the love of Jesus, my best friend. So far in my 23 years, I have found two places that I call home. And for that, I feel very blessed. Some people search their whole lives for one home, and I've already found two. I know that this is sense of belonging that can only come from the Lord.
And the most amazing part of it is, this is only just the beginning. There are more homes for me to find. And it's not just for me, but for all of us. As we journey along our roads of life, I believe that new homes can be acquired even in the most unlikely of places, when His glory is revealed. He is the place when we find ourselves in complete awe and amazement, He is the immovable Rock, He is the familiar foothold.
As I continue to seek Jesus, I have faith that He will continue to reveal Himself in unexpected places, and in those moments, I will find myself home once more.