I’m interested in writing within the tensions of our humanity with the both and: our joy and our grief, beauty and brokenness, courage and fear, celebration and rage, and everything in between.
My hope is that my writing has the ability to connect to what lies at the core of being human. Whether I am writing poetry, a newsletter, or an essay, my writing aims to be honest, attentive, and centered around connection. May these words housed here meet you and encourage you.
I every so often will ask people to write on a prompt or a word. This past month I asked people to write about their thoughts, stories, and reflections on the word home. I have been receiving emails each week of different writing pieces on the word and each piece has made this collaboration one powerful conversation about how home means something to every single one of us.
We each have our own personal associations, emotions, memories, and definitions on the word home. And that is why only you can write out your thoughts on the word. We need each story, each thought, and each connection to the word. Each written piece reminds us that home means something to each of us. It’s our common ground to humanity.
With that being said, this writing collaboration has become one of the most special ones. I hope these writings bless you as much as they have blessed me. Keep writing my friends. Your words and stories are powerful.
It feels very fitting to share this writing collaboration on a day of remembering a dear friend Mr. Ray- a man who made you feel at home the moment you met him. He is also the reason I first asked people to share their thoughts. So this one’s in honor of him.
Every month is a new place. A new country, new surroundings, cultures and people. And, it never fails that by the second week, I say, “hey I’ll meet you at HOME tonight” or “are you coming back HOME.” And I stop because it just flies out of my mouth so casually and i stop because I’m even more aware that I use the specific word, home.
Because home is deeper than casual. Home is safe. Home is special. Home is supernatural.
See when you’re able to have a place that you can call home it’s only by the grace of God. Jesus, our Jesus, tells us the cost of following Him may lead us (because even He) wasn’t promised a place “no where to lay our heads.”
Home is the people inside the building. Home is love. Home is where you can repent, pray and praise God and only receive grace, love and truth. Home is family.
What is “Home”?
My first thought when I think of the word “home” is a literal building- a house. I think of 109 Carrick Way and 615 Baxter St. and 1673 S Milledge Ave.
But, I most often think of 241 Trotters Run.
In a time of moving around with my mom while growing up and then moving every year my first three years of college, 241 Trotters Run was a safe place for me, a place of comfort and familiarity. A place of memories.
Yeah, that’s exactly what “home” is. Rest. Comfort. Memories.
But, then, I think about the word “home” and I think about the places I have lived- the actual locations. Places where I have spent some of my life. Cities where I drive into and literally take a breathe of relief because I am overcome with the feeling of “being home.”
And then, I think about the word “home” and I think about the people that make it so special to me. The people I find rest in. The people I laugh with and make memories with. And the people I feel completely comfortable around- that set me free to be myself.
But, where really is my home? We moved out of 241 Trotters Run- a place I had known for 20 years of my life. I left Macon and moved to Athens, where I gained new favorite restaurants and streets. I only get to spend a couple of months of the summer in Mt. Ida at a place I love so much. And, in less than a year, I will be adding a new place to my list of homes. None of these changes come easy for me- I have a problem of being a afraid of change. But, recently, the Lord has opened my eyes to the fact that my “home” here on earth can keep on changing, and I do not have to be afraid, because my real home awaits me- eternity in heaven with Jesus Christ. Heaven. My home.
A place full of all of my favorite parts about Macon and Mt. Ida and Athens combined. A place full of people I love, who I will get to spend eternity with.
Home is Heaven. A perfect, forever home.
My mother is so kind.
She takes the old duffle from my hands as I walk through the door.
It’s heavy. I couldn’t carry it another step, stuffed full of all my bitterness.
She removes each piece, and doesn’t seem to mind that they reek of envy, and pride, and hate.
She just washes each item with perfect grace, on warm, until they shine again.
There has never been a stain she couldn’t remove.
My father is so hospitable.
He sees that sorrow and stress both made the trip with me.
No matter, he invites them in too, of course.
He asks if they’re hungry.
He hasn’t even slipped out of his work shoes.
They do not want his invitation to a family dinner though.
They were expecting a pity party in their honor.
He brings a hot meal, and sets it on the table with a smile.
They get up and leave without a word.
He looks at me,
“I think those were my least favorite friends of yours. Welcome home.”\
Spent the summer in DC and left for a week for a business trip. Wrote this on my flight back to the district. It was really odd to fly back to a different city to go “home”.
Does it feel like I’m going home? I am unsure. What is home?
Back to all my belongings and the new life I have craved out for myself.
But my heart is in another place, a place unfinished. Will any other place be able to be home? Will it ever feel finished?
Home. Home is a place of comfort. A place where I am able to completely be myself. I believe home is not only a physical place but also a metaphorical place. Home is where my family and best friends are. It is a place where I can be in my worst state at one moment and my best state the next moment. It is a place where I can be fully real and be fully loved at the same time. This is home.
Life is a lot like magic
One minute it is here
And the next it is gone
Fleeting into the nothingness from which it came
We say things like
Putting down roots
When we talk about making a home
We are brazen enough to believe that permanence exists
They say ‘home is where you make it’
Or where our hearts live,
Where we plant ourselves to grow.
But they forget that we are not plants and soil is not a good home.
You see, home is not real for me
I’ve never had one
Though I’ve pretended many times
Building my house of cards waiting for them to come tumbling down again
It’s all a trick
A slight of hand
Fooling even we’ll trained eyes
Ive built a home out of paper
The problem with my paper home
Is that someone might see
And notice that I am a human
Living in a paper city
And they might ask
“Why do you live in this fake place”
And I will have no answer because it’s all that I’ve known
I don’t know how to make a real home
But the worst dream comes true
When I wake up and see that
The world is real and home was there all along.
And I was the one made of paper.
Home is a place where I can be all that I am
Home is a place where
parents sit and listen
I stand in my kitchen
And after all’s said and done
Home is people who speak with their eyes
You’re not too much
Never a burden to say it
And they say it and say it and say it
Until its real
Home is people I return to
Who welcome me
With word and hug and free place to breathe
To recount the day, big and small
my heart, cut and raw
Never in a rush for me to end
Home is where the trees are
Home is the lived-in space, not perfect
Falling apart a little, it should be
Not for show or picture
Only for the people in it,
For the home is for any who call it
Home, blesses all within its walls
Home is where the trees are
The trees stand tall in my back yard
Shading, protecting, glorifying
And my people are my trees
Resting, defending, providing
Wherever they are and wherever the trees root deep
Is home to me
The echo of
Me who I am
How to love
When to speak
Time of life
All that I learned
All that I felt
My safe place
My saving grace
Last night I moved into Athens for the last time – trusting that my advisor has not lied to me. Muscle memory took over as I subconsciously made all the turns to reach my Athens home. My 3rd during college. I was greeted with hugs and visitors and a burrito. My trunk filled for the 4th time, clothes I won’t wear the majority of, books I still may not open, and pictures that will remain in their envelopes yet again. It’s all part of how I’m leaving my cookie crumb trail. How I’m acquiring and possessing Home. Home is a collection. The tangibles, the intangibles, the moments and places. People that occupy the most honest and raw part of my being. The night before I sleep 1 last time this summer in my childhood room next to my childhood dog who has recently lost his hearing. MumsAy walks up the driveway and greets me the same wAy she Always has. These are the last few months of her job. She is thrilled about her retirement and is moved to live near her sisters. I’ve never known my home without her. Her filled bookcases fixtures of the room I ran to when I woke scared. I pass neighborhoods on the way out with houses with families who raised me too. Who continue to do so all the same. Their children are foundations of who I am. They are pieces of security that grew up next to me, hand in hand, adding to our definition of safety.
I get chills on my drive into Athens, muttering the words, “this is good.”
Athens presents a different sense of safety and Home. Like how you suddenly feel towards a nice person who helps you find your mom in the grocery store. I’ve pitched my tent in a lot of places in Athens. Each place adding to my sense of Home like a monsoon.
I guides I’m building a mansion. That’s the best way to put my developing sense of home. My mansion gets a new addition with each person, memory and return address the marks the left hand corners of my outgoing letters for a month or year at a time. My mansion is occupying more real estate that I know my heart possessed. And I’ll tell you, it’s still growing and beautifying and deepening and the wildflowers in the front yard are growing taller. I sleep well in this home.
Home to me has always been a word that I love to use, but also a word that I struggle to define. I have resided in many different houses over years. Changing my “home life” used to really scare me. I used to dread packing and moving. Sometimes, if the enemy is trying to get to me, the word “home” brings up the phrase “two homes, one child”. Is mom’s house my home? Or is dad’s house my home? Which home address should go on my license? Which home has my favorite bedding? My favorite picture frames? I start to wonder what home means to me if I cannot put it into one little neat box in my head…
…but, at this stage of my life, I now believe that the word “home” is worthy of a whole lot of celebration. It is such a simple, yet significant word. It is so much more than an address. Home is not defined by the belongings and decorations that fill it or by the challenges and storms that try to shake it. Yeah, circumstances change and sometimes it can seem like things will never return to what you used to know. Yet, the beautiful parts that make a house a home lie within the joy of sharing a common ground with the people who mean the most to you in this world. I love how my home – whether I am talking about the house in Athens that I just moved into with six of the biggest blessings of my time in college, or my dad’s house that he moved into my freshman year of college, or my mom and stepfather’s house where we just combined families less than a year ago – is somewhere where I am accepted and adored for who I am. My unique quirks that make me who I am are not only allowed but appreciated. The outside world’s standards that I try to measure up to have no meaning because of the safety that exists at home. When life sometimes feels like a roller coaster, home is the unswerving, soothing lazy river ride.
Home reminds me of unconditional love, continuous freedom, arms open wide, uncontrollable laughter, and memories that make my heart smile big. Home is where brokenness is allowed, and wounds are healed with time. Home means falling asleep under the same roof as the people that you do this life with – in the stillness and in the craziness. Home is where our God always resides so that darkness is cast out and light floods in. And, the best part of home is that we get to take pieces of it with us wherever we go as we live and move and wait to join in with the King at our permanent home.
My thoughts on home can go forever. They span wide sprouting off like roots reaching deep in different stretches of land, all grounded in the same soil.
I think back to the home I grew up in.
Mine has always been open.
Come over for supper. Have your fill. When you’ve had enough, mama will give you some more.
Come over to sleep. There’s always extra space. Not named a guest room, cause it’s your room.
Come over to visit. You’ll for sure be entertained. The mess in our kitchen and the chaotic chatter may comfort you or it may just drive you wild. Either way, don’t just visit, come over to stay.
Come over. Be at home.
I think of how many of my friends are named by this word.
They are homeless they say. I’d say differently.
I know a guy and he calls me squirrel. He makes me smile when I think about him. He’s been living here in this town for more years than I’ve known of it. They say he’s homeless but they just don’t know. He’s made himself a home far off between the trees, a happy home.
I have a friend and I call her Rich. Some people used to call her homeless but she got a house last year. I’d say she had a home far before then.
I have another friend. She’s a real good mama, sometimes too good of one it hurts her. She’s been in between houses for years and can’t seem to keep one. She is homeless they say. It’s hard, it’s hard, it’s hard but I don’t think she’s found her home.
I think about the ink on my neck.
I was 18 and I was ready to go home. I was tired of this world. It all felt tasteless, even bitter, compared to tastes of home. My forever home.
“To live is Christ to die is gain” To die is gain. Yes. Gain. To go home.
I am 22 now and I am ready to live. I can’t tell you all the time I’ve felt home, living.
“To live is Christ to die is gain” To live is Christ. Yes. Christ. Christ, my home.
My home where I breath; where I hide; where I revive. Where all are invited. All invited to breath, to hide, to revive.
Home keep calling me. I’ll answer and walk a little closer. I’ll turn my head back and share the beckon. Others come with me. Come over. Come home.
Home keep soothing me. I’ll sit back and sink a little deeper. I’ll lift my chin and close my eyes. Knowing, believing you are beckoning all.
Come over. Be at home.
When I think about home, I think about the people before the place. I think about my roomates in Athens, my sisters, and my parents. I think it is the most incredible thing when home surrounds people more than a building. I think of home as the feeling of sharing life with people that we love most, the feeling of taking care of people and knowing that you are taken care of. It’s a feeling of being able to be completely and totally yourself. Athens has quickly become a new home, a safe place, a place where I feel so much comfort and freedom – and I think that is one hundred percent because of the people here. Although my home has changed a lot, I think that I will also forever hold onto the places that have felt like a home. The places where there have been christmas trees, card games, and gilmore girls episodes. I think that home travels inside of me and within the space of my family. It is so beautiful that you really can take home with you wherever you go and turn any new place into home.
I can remember the comfort of knowing when I came home from school that my mom and dog would be waiting for me there
I can remember the fun of jumping on our couch until it was ruined while my dad played my grandpas old driving CDs
I can remember the way home felt big and overwhelming with the change as hundreds of neighbors stood on our front lawn to welcome my parents and my new brother home from Russia
I can remember the eagerness for that same place to not be my home as I was ready to be on my own in college
I can remember a dorm not feeling at all like home but solely a place to sleep
I can remember friends who started off seeming distant but soon felt like home
I can remember calling a sorority house home and truly feeling that because of the unexpected crazy love there
I can remember the hurt but understanding in my mom’s eyes when I said “going home” to mean Athens
I can remember the discomfort of telling friends that I lived in that huge sorority house while they’ve been sleeping on benches and the steps of churches
I can remember the way they loved me and allowed me into their lives and their homes anyway
I can remember the joy when some of these friends got physical homes of their own
I can remember the confusion of wondering why I got to move into a big home with college friends while some friends I know are still searching for the comfort of a home
I can remember the ways my people have made me feel at home in the seasons and confusion and change.
Mary Hathaway Lipscomb
The cold water didn’t make me rush through the dishes any faster. I think I will always be this way: slow, gentle, no matter the season. My fingers turn red every night against the dishes in my hands but I know it will be over soon and I honestly don’t want it to be. This pace of life, despite the cold summer, matches my pace of mind. I get to wrap up in all of my clothes and press my red face against the Guatero. The cold is everywhere and I have come to appreciate the consistency. I can get in and out of bed in the same way. I can pour two scoops of instant coffee with my shaking hands and give the Micro driver my pesos in the same way. I can hold my body close in a 10 am class and hold my friends in the mercado in the same way. My English/Spanish mix is my normal here, my way of life. It mirrors this season, a mix of warm and cold. Can I find a home in this summer/winter? Can I find a home in this mix of culture? I am still trying, still washing the dishes, knowing this will end soon.
“Home is where the heart is”
I remember the first time I felt at home. I remember the scent of the vintage house, with the old carpet. I remember the waterbed in the room with the big television stand. I remember the bath time when I’d make the bar of soap disappear in my wash rag. I remember the wholeness that surrounded the house even if there was no whole to begin with. The first time I felt at home, has been the only time my heart has defined home.
I was raised in my grandmother’s home, which was not mine. I would wake up, bathe, go to school from here. I would do my homework, be taught the right and wrongs. But this was never my home. I never felt like it was my home. My heart never set roots down here.
My father lived on the hill not too far but a drive from my grandmothers. I would stay here often when I was younger. I would spend holidays here. Wake up and go get McDonalds with my father, cook dinner, enjoy watching football or Nascar here.
Where my first puppy stayed. Where my mom found her love and lost it here. I guess you can say I lost it here too.
This home was like no other to me. I remember the nights where the voices of arguments embraced me like a gentle hug from your mother. I remember the Christmas’s where the smell of fire and candy filled the room. I remember the moment where I was happy, and my siblings were happy, and my father and mother were happy.
This is my home. I lost this feeling for a long time after my father passed. The feeling of your heart being ripped out of your chest. The feeling of anger, grief, disbelief filled me. I was not able to sleep. I did not make it to the funeral. I was homeless.
I remember all the memories of growing up here and exploring outside with the sheep and kittens that would surround me. I remember the collection of cabbage catch kids I’d get every year for Christmas.
I remember this home.
Not where I reside at the moment. Not where my grandmother stays. Not the foster homes. Not the places where my friends stay where their mom tells you to make yourself at home.
That will never be the home my heart longs it to be.