I like my home. The one with the trampoline in the front yard, the hammock on the porch and awkward sayings written on the brick that I thought would be funny. They aren't. It is where I have lived the past two years. Sure, some of my roommates have changed, the decorations have progressed, and neighbors have moved in and out, but deep down it feels the same as it did when I first moved in. Somehow consistent, despite all of the changes. Some changes have been more welcomed than others. The picture below was taken when I visited Waco the summer after my freshman year. I had no idea what memories this house would hold. And no idea the grass would never again look this good. You should see it now...shambles.
At the start, I was a little jealous of my friends who were moving into cute houses or apartments with pretty countertops or places with driveways. Now I realize, what a foolish thought that was. I would not trade my house for anything in the world. The experiences I have shared, lived, and witnessed in this home are so dear to me. And though we do not always get along perfectly or I forget to buy the toilet paper or the dishes pile up in the sink, it all seems petty when I think about the real stuff. The relationships and the love that are intertwined in this place. I have even grown accustomed to hearing the boys downstairs, waking up when Lauren showers in the morning, and trying to cram all of our (mostly their) groceries into the fridge. I love the creepy alley and the noise the shambly tiles make when you walk on them.
It is here where I am fully myself. It is here where I have learned to be by myself. And it is here where I have fallen more in love with Jesus and discovered that life only makes sense with Him. It is here where I come back to after weekend trips and feel a sense of relief to be back where I belong. It is here where I do not have to be perfect. Where I won't get judged for watching the O.C. on a Saturday night and eating cookies and milk. It is where I can come home crying and be comforted or come home estactic and be rejoiced with. It is here where I have faced harsh realities about myself and about life that have caused me to refocus and grow in a way that has been refreshing and much needed, even when I didn't agree. I know that this place will not always be my home. I know that change is good, and that living in a place a certain amount of years is not what makes it a home. I know all of this. Which makes me want to wear this home out even more in this coming year, because it is all I have left.
But it is comforting to know that there are no specific qualifications of what a home should be or how it should look or even who should live in it. Maybe home can't even be defined as a specific place, but see that's the thing. Home means something different to everyone. Because everyone needs somewhere where they can feel at home. I think we all long for a place of stability, a place of calmness, a place that is ours. A place that may not matter to someone else, a visitor or a friend, but it doesn't bother you because it is not their home, but your home. And it makes sense to you.