Sometimes more than other times I feel the weight of packed suitcases. It’s like a surprise that sweeps the hair straight up on my arms. I forget, I guess. Things get going – mornings and middays and meetings – and I forget, I guess, that home is not places.
Then the question drops like all kinds of innocence with friends at the dinner table, “So, how do you like living in Des Moines?”
There’s nothing special about the question, but it hits me like surprise and my hair stands straight up. It’s been a month and a half now, living in Des Moines and working as an in-home counselor, and the question is like paralysis. My mouth says the pleasantries, but my mind speeds by the years after college – Chicago, Austin, Tegucigalpa, Ames, and now Des Moines – and I realize I am still moving.
I get all kinds of emotional about the motion and I wonder if I’ll ever hang my hat or turn in my key or take off my shoes somewhere permanent. I wonder if I’ll ever stop moving. Now, I’m queasy.
My conscience pricks before self-pity sets in or some other such selfish device. Maybe this is the drama I create – maybe these thoughts are not even worth all the words. Having time to think about whether or not I like living in a certain city, whether or not I like working my new job, whether or not I like searching for a church… they are first world questions and I won’t pretend otherwise.
But it is not exactly a bad feeling I feel, this loneliness, and it is there getting stuck in my throat while I think up an answer to the question at the dinner table. I realize I may never get planted in a place of permanence on this side of heaven and it’s both a good and hard thought.
I suppose I am surprised to find joy lives so content next to this loneliness.
I suppose this is home.
And the mystery of this supposing can only lead me into praise.