Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Being Here

Home is never far from my mind.

How could it be? Home is part of who I am. It's comprised of memories and experiences, people and places, things that matter greatly to me. And right now, all of those things are on the other side of the globe.

But I've learned that sometimes the best way for me to beat homesickness is to think of home.
Not so I can long for it, but so that I can be calmed by it.

I think about Nebraska. The place I spent 6 years of my life. My sister and her husband may be getting ready for work. A routine I've seen played out more times than I can count: stumbling downstairs in bathrobes, Ben starts grinding the coffee beans, Ashley gets dressed, they sit at the table (in the exact same spots every time), they eat toast with peanut butter, plain yogurt with honey, and maybe a grapefruit or raisins. They read or talk, quite cheerily for 7am on a Wednesday. They are doing just fine.

Or a few blocks away at Union College. A school I know well. A place that matters. That will forever be special to me because of the friendships I made there. But now, all of my friends are gone. Many teachers have moved on. If I were to walk on campus, very few would know my name.

Or across the street, at our old apartment. Someone else lives there now. A woman I don't recognize. She has made it her home now. Her furniture. Her memories. I don't belong there.

I think about Colorado. My parents house. My bed. The couch. Where I grew up and where much of my family lives. My parents are going about their business, the family farm smells like alfalfa and manure, and the mountains stand as guardians over those of us on the plains. We are blessed with lovely sunsets that take the breath right out of your body. But those sunsets will continue without me.

I think about Nepal and Argentina and South Dakota where my girlfriends are scattered. They are living their lives all over the world. They are experiencing truth as they know it. And they need to. Good for them.

When I am feeling homesick, I don't actually want to be in my home. I want to be with my people. I want to sit and chat. It's good for me to think about home, because it reminds me that everyone I love is going about their business just like I am here. We love and care for each other, but we can continue doing our thing, even when it's hard, even when we miss each other.

Essentially, in moments like this, I remind myself that I am not missing out on anything. No one needs me by their side. There is not a job or a community or an apartment or a church that I need to come rushing home to.

I can be here.

I can be brave in Korea.

I can let go.


Kylie said...

This was a good reminder for my homesick heart today. Thank you for memories and a friendship that bring me much peace, especially when things feel fragile.

KendraKay at said...

I could use some work on this skill. The picture you painted inspires me - thanks!

Shelbi said...

One of my best friends has spent the last two summers in Sweden and this is what she says about home:

Her "people" are no longer just where she grew up--they're in the US and in Sweden. Wherever she is, she is always going to long for the other home. When she is here going to school, she misses the connections she has in Sweden; and when she's there, she misses her family here.

Perhaps as you become comfortable with being in Korea, it won't just be a place to exist, but it will become another one of your homes. :)

Big Rich said...

I would know your name :)

Ashley Barber said...

You're right, my sister. I haven't lived in foreign countries as you have but in a similar way I enjoy having thoughts as you've described of my people in all of the places where they are. And now I get to envision you and what you're doing where you are. It makes me feel more connected with all the corners of the world where those I love are doing the things they've been given to do. I love you wherever you are, whatever you're doing!