My grandma has lived in the same house for 57 years. Fifty-seven.
She spent the entirety of her marriage there. She raised her children there, from infancy to adulthood. Her kids, her grandkids, and her great-grandkids have eaten in that same kitchen, swam in that same pool, and sat on that same front porch. She has attended the same church, shopped at the same grocery stores, seen the same neighborly faces, and driven the same streets for a lifetime.
I recently sat down and made a list of how many times I have moved. In the 12 years since I left my hometown of Montrose, Colorado, I have moved 18 times. The longest I have lived in any one place is 2 years (a studio apartment in Seattle); almost all of my tenures have been less than a year. A total of 13 scattered months have been spent with no address at all, squatting with friends or family for short fragments of time, all of my possessions boxed up in basements, garages, or storage units. I am on my fourth set of friends, with countless other relationships far-flung around the world like a constellation.
Perhaps this is the norm for my generation, but at this point, the concept of home barely rings a bell. I don’t know where my home is. But I know that I crave it with every ounce of my being.
Last night, I went to Red Rocks for the first time ever, and heard James Taylor play “Carolina in My Mind.” Before he began, he told the audience that he wrote the song in 1968 in London. There he was, recording overseas, with the accolades and attention of some of his heroes (two of the Beatles, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, are actually featured on the track); by all worldly standards, he had reached “success.” But even with his accomplishments, he explained, he had been so homesick – and that prompted him to write and record this song that so many of us now know and love.
Old or young, famous or not famous, home calls to all of us.
My grandma has lived in the same house for 57 years – but we know that her time here on earth is winding down. Even for one with a very strong sense of home, she can’t stay. What an ache.
But I believe that our true Home is more than just a spot on a map. It’s more than geography and more than circumstance and more than time. It’s where my grandma is headed, and it’s what James Taylor sings about, and it’s what my own heart longs for. It’s absolute familiarity and comfort and permanence, a lack of insecurity and an abundance of joy – and it’s closer than we think.
In the meantime, while I’m in this life on earth, I am thankful for little reminders of Home: a cup of coffee in whatever house I wake up in, a flawed but precious lineage, and the songs of James Taylor.