A sense of home


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.



  1. Christina on July 25, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    As someone who has moved countless times and has no home at the moment, this post resonates deeply with me. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lan | angry asian on July 25, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    this post has given me a different perspective. i grew up as a Third Culture Kid because of my father’s profession, most of my friends growing up are also TCKs. i don’t know you at all, i lurk on your blog sometimes but you give me the impression of how my childhood was, as an adult: constantly moving, never in one place for long. it’s never occurred to me that i could have the same adulthood as my childhood but sometimes, in reading your posts, albeit sometimes sad (and lonely?) i miss it, even after having living in baltimore for 8 consecutive years. anyway, my thoughts are all jumbled and i’m not articulating myself properly, but i wanted to chime in to say thank you for sharing, that i hope you find home, should that be something you’re seeking.

  3. Andrea on July 25, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I loved your connection to James Taylor in this post. I saw him in concert one week ago and his story about “Carolina in My Mind” is still fresh in mine! If you haven’t seen him live, check his tour listings. He’s a rarity in the music world and was such a humble gem.

  4. Dani in Washington on July 25, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    All I can really say is Thank You. This has rung true with my heart and reminded me of where to put my focus and my hope. Thank you friend.

  5. Terry on July 25, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    You have the ability in your writing to make me cry. Keep writing. Maybe there’s a book here one of these days.

  6. Peg Achterman on July 25, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Certainly resonated with me. From age 15-34 I lived in 14 different places – like you, a period of suit-case-dom. This spanned 9 different cities. Once I was in Seattle I kept coming back in the span between 18 and 30. During this time I lived overseas and was struggling with the “home” deal as well. A friend who was an MK gave me his study of all of the passages in the Bible that deal with home. I might still have it somewhere – I’ll look. Meantime – hang in there – I’ve now been in my house in Wallingford for almost 18 years.

  7. dawn on July 25, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Hurrah for those who write on our own skin! A nomad a relunctant one at times myself I have felt everything you’re so eloquently laying down, Annie. Home like God is where we are…here and now. Thank you thank you for being here with me in this moment of forced awakeness. You are beautiful! Truly and deeply.

  8. Kat Amano on July 25, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    For whatever this is worth, I just wanted you to know that I lurk on your blog sometimes. Actually, a lot of times, but most especially on days like today — days that leave me tired and maybe a little sad, wanting to connect and feel heard, but without the energy to do any talking myself. And I always feel better after reading. Always.

    You are a treasure.

  9. Michael on July 25, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    I never thought this Carolina boy would feel at home here on Ohio on the edge of the lone prairie, but I do. Still, I long for the idea of Carolina, as does JT. I go there often in my mind. I am so very blessed to have found a sense of belonging with one I love. Anywhere we are together, there home is. But both of us were older than you are when we found each other. Do not despair. Live, love, dream, write…please write…and never give up hope. You are so very special.

  10. carin on July 25, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Beautifully written.

  11. Emily from Seattle on July 26, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    I’ve lived in and around Seattle for most of my life but I don’t think it’s ever really felt like home. Still waiting for that, I guess….

  12. Kendall on July 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Well said.

    And this is so poignant to what we are talking about at The Kindlings Fest this week.

  13. Janet Hedges on July 26, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Annie….Home…you’ve blessed my heart today with your sharing. Give my love to your family.

  14. Stephanie on July 26, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Last two paragraphs: Perfection. Thanks, Annie. Blessings.

  15. Rebs on July 26, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    A-MEN. xxxxx

Leave a Comment