Wherever We Are Is Home


I’m back home at my parent’s house for a few days for the first time in almost two years and it’s different. It took a little bit for me to get acclimated. It smelled exactly the same. Salted caramel and cranberry. But I was different. I’ve changed. I’m not the same girl who left here a few years ago. I’ve been broken, shattered, and am in the process of being rebuilt in a glorious fashion. I have left the long haired, naive hippie child behind. In her place is a short haired woman with a nose ring, red lips, jeans, and a firm understanding of life and grace found in the in-between places.


And home. Well, home is different too. Some parts of it are the same, but it also feels different. The people are the same, so that makes it good. That makes it safe, which is something I haven’t felt much of in the past year.


I’ve been thinking a lot about home in the past week. The idea of it. So I wasn’t surprised when this song came on while I was in the driver’s seat of my dad’s car, sixteen days into this forty day trip. Dave Barnes’ voice drifted out of Spotify and my heart burst open. Sixteen days of people and stories and falling so much in love with all of them I can hardly stand it. These words:


Your voices swirl and welcome me

Hem me in, this anthem sweet

We are all familiar now

In each other's blood somehow


I will never be a stranger

I will never be alone

Cause deep inside of me I know that

Wherever you are, is home


And I’m sure you’re not shocked to hear that I was driving down the road bawling. Sobbing my face off as he continued:


So raise a glass and gather round

Toast the night and friendships found

I lay to rest my troubled face

Breathe deep this amazing grace


I will never be a stranger

I will never be alone

Cause deep inside of me I know that

Wherever you are is home


To understand how I got to this place of driving through an industrial park, tears pouring off the steering wheel and pooling in my lap, you need to back up to a conversation I had with my therapist. Maybe even further to earlier this year when I told her about a him that I was trying to call home.


“He is the safety and the unsafety,” I said. “He feels like home to me.”


“Melissa, something can be familiar without being home. You are an adult, so home should be a safe place,” she reminded me, “You just said he was unsafe.”


I couldn’t see it then. I heard what she was saying but I couldn’t see it completely. I had already began to sever ties from him at that point but that tug of the familiar was hard to break. I still wanted to call the darkness home. It had absorbed me in my brokenness and soothed me in my pain.


The story of how I got from there to this conversation with her recently is a long one. Maybe it’s one I’ll tell in my book. But when I looked at her over FaceTime in one of our sessions over the past month and said fiercely, “I know I cut him out awhile ago but I just need to say, he is not home. He will NEVER be home,” I thought she might need to step off screen for a little moment of victory dance. It was a long road from that darkness into light and that victory dance was well deserved.


In moments of darkness we often cling to the things that we think are saving us. Sometimes those things we think are home are the very things that are keeping us from finding it. Home is a safe place. This journey I’m on is teaching me that. Each of these people I am encountering are showing my heart this fact. They have been reteaching me my worth, my value. There are people in my life who show up just to pour into me without asking for anything. I don’t even know what to do with them.

When I heard these words from Dave Barnes, I fell to pieces. These humans and the ones who have fought so hard for me in the past year ARE my safe places. They are my home. And there are more to come. For you see, as it was created to do, the light has shoved out darkness. There is no room for it now, nor will there ever be. I will leave pieces of my heart in each city I visit. My home will be in all of those places with all of my loves. And “I will never be a stranger. I will never be alone. Deep inside of me I know that wherever we are is home.”

Sometime soon this road may part

Mine may end where yours starts

Should you ever need me

You'll know where I'll always be.

You will never be a stranger

You will never be alone

Cause deep inside of me I know that

Wherever we are is home