Monday, June 18, 2012

It's All Relative

I was worried I’d come to a place called “home” that wasn’t actually. I was scared I’d spend the whole summer halfway between America and Korea, thinking of both of them as vacation spots, equally exotic. I thought maybe I’d come back to Indiana and feel lonely in all this space or harried by the flood of suddenly understandable language. Maybe I’d come back to Chesterton and Valpo and find everyone gone or changed, disinterested or, worse, dis-interesting. I thought I might spend the ride home from the airport begging to get back on the plane to my safe cheese-box of an apartment where even if it didn’t feel like home, it felt like a fortress.

I was steeling myself to relive the realization that words like “home” are meaningless. Words like that wander around your brain when you’re on the road so that any little pocket of comfortability feels like “home.” I believed it, too, that home would disappear simply because the idea of it was no longer clear to me after months of hopping from here to there.

I’m home. Undeniably. There’s grass everywhere and clean, fresh air. My mom’s garden is flowering beautifully and the elephant tree stands in the front yard with a new haircut.[1] My beagle patters about like always and there are exactly as many steps up from the first floor to the second and they are still hazardously carpeted so that I’m liable to fall down when in a rush. My room still has the ugly green walls my parents allowed me to paint despite the pink carpeting.

As nice as the grass feels and as comfortable as it is to sleep on a bed that’s actually comfortable, those things are nothing compared to seeing my mom and dad drive up at the airport in the red Prius and give me big, long hugs. Dad’s smiling and telling everyone we see—mostly ourselves—how good it feels to have the little one back home. He pats his heart a little bit when he says it and I know that “home” isn't meaningless or mysterious.

Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. (Proverbs 17:6)

[1] Mom hates the elephant tree and vows it will be terminated. Dad has put it on his summer to-do list. I will lobby for its safety as long as it stands elephant-like in our front garden.

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