In 2006 I wrote these paragraphs after spending some time in New England:
Just spent a week in Connecticut and Massachusetts. I spent most of my growing up years in Vermont, have lived in Mass, NH, and Maine, where my parents live now. There’s something about NE that feels like home. The houses, the terrain, the temperature. It all gives the feel of home, even though I have only lived 2 years in NE in the last 20. Even the Red Flops 5 game loss to the Yankees at home made me feel like I had never left.
We spent 2 days with friends who live north of Boston. To me, this is quintessential NE. The water, the houses, the beauty all around.
I wonder if others have this experience too. I guess it’s a taste of Heaven, when we finally feel at rest and at home with the Lord.
Having just made a quick trip to Western Mass., I am again reminded by the “ahhh” feeling I get when there. I think it is a combination of topography, the typical greenery, the clapboard homes, and a host of fond memories. I can also tell you that though I like my job and my current friends, I do not get that feeling on the drive back to the Philadelphia area.
Does anyone else have this experience with a geographical location?
9 responses to “Feeling at home based on geography”
I come from the tiny NW Ohio town of Pettisville, pop. around 500 at any given time. I feel exactly that when I drive the hour out from the suburbs of Toledo, through the country roads, and back to my “home.” I’m still known there, though I’ve not lived there in nearly 30 years…I’m even greeted by a few by my old high school nickname, which I rarely hear anywhere else! I still dream of moving there, integrating back into the social life of the town, and eventually being buried there. It has been, and always shall be, my “home,” where I go “Ahhhhh!”
I was away from home basically from age 17 to 47–three decades if my math is right. In many ways I thought of it as being a missionary, although I was not in “missions work” per se. Every time I would return for a visit, it felt like home, no matter how long I had been away. Then four years ago an opportunity arose for me to work out of a home office. So we moved our home back to where I grew up. Being near family and friends and familiar settings has been an awesome joy. Yes, you can go home again.
I love seeing the mountains of Chattanoooga. In spite of the fact that I remain forever a FL girl and get itchy if I can’t get near a large body of water (translation Ocean or Gulf) and suffer from SAD, I believe I ‘grew up’ in Chattanooga; specifically Lookout Mountain. One look at the beauty of Covenant College and the 4 moderate seasons of that mountain climate and you would understand. Winter moisture creates a icy windchimes of the tree limbs and the mountain remains for weeks in a fog. Spring bursts forth with daffodils, azaleas, tulips, dogwoods and every spring flower you can imagine. Summer is beautiful and with the mountain breeze you only need to open your window to cool off. Fall is a crayon box of colors as you look out over the valley. My husband and I have more than 40 years of memories: some of them of his childhood, my college years, our courting and early marriage. I expect we will someday move there again….with visits to FL for me to deal with my addiction to the sun.
I believe I need to go to Chattanooga (specifically Lookout Mountain)! 🙂
I am a missionary kid from the Philippines. During my first year of college back in the USA, I came in at the end of the play “The man without a country.”
Near the end of the play (and book) is a quote of Hebrews 11:16. —- “They desire a country, even a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.”—
Including verses 13-16 it says —
………..These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city. ……………
These words hit me in the gut and I began to cry. I felt (feel?) like a man without a country, without a home. It is now over 30 years later and I still don’t know my home. What is home? What makes a place home?
When my heart cries “I want to go home” I think of a specific place in the Philippines. Yet, I suspect that if I went there now, I would discover that home has fled from that place. Still, anytime I see a movie that has scenes from the Philippines, the plot is forgotten as I scan the background for all its details and get as close as possible to the feel of the breeze, the scent in the air, the sounds…, to being there.
I don’t know why my heart cries home. What makes a place home? There are a lot of sayings that exist for that question. One MK saying I’ve heard is “Home is where you unpack your suitcase.” This statement is bittersweet irony, I think.
—“This world is not my home I’m just a passin’ through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
Just over in Glory-land we’ll live eternally
The saints on every hand are shouting victory
Their songs of sweetest praise drift back from heaven’s shore
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore” —
Nice sentiment, but not true. At least, not for me.
The verses in Hebrews give me comfort. They soothe the pain. They don’t remove the pain. It seems that there is something in us that – needs – home.
And thus we return to the question(s). What is home? Where is home? Why do we desire home?
— who, what, where, when, why–
When were we last home? When will we be home?
Who is home?
There is a lot of theology in those questions.
Deb, your experience is similar to other mks I talked to. 3rd culture kids. When my parents moved from my childhood home when I was 18 I felt that way too but on a smaller level.
Yup, I’m missing the mountains and rivers of northern New Hampshire. A comfortable, safe, and beautiful place.
I’m a native Texan, or Tejana [we have our own distinct subculture within the American culture], who is living in Brazil. I’m only 3.5 years, into the lifetime that lies ahead. We are living in my husband’s hometown – we lived in mine for 4.5 years.
People looking on the outside must think that i’m nuts to lament living in a tropical region. I prefer to live in Texas – i miss it terribly. Truth be told, i always dreamed of moving to somewhere similar (wide open spaces) but cooler: Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Montana…
It’s not just the climate, but the culture, that is a main “feeling” of home to me. Inasmuch as this has inhibited me from feeling at home here in Brazil, it made me feel almost like an alien, when i went home to visit.
Today’s American culture is so driven by media, that if you’re not hearing, seeing or reading about the latest, hottest American [which our media has almost convinced is its own Universe – the USA isn’t very proficient in recognizing “global” media icons that easily translate in Europe, South America, Australia & Asia (this is something i recognized, growing up, before i moved out of the country)] “it” people, places & things (of course, simply driving along a stretch of road will bring you somewhat up to speed – like Cliffs notes) it can be an almost otherworldly experience. I didn’t feel like Home was home anymore, except in the geography – and my family & friends.
Although, even in relating to my family & friends, there were times when they had to explain certain jokes due to something being the latest pop culture reference, and i was the foreigner that didn’t get it.
This was mildly disconcerting, in the big picture -though i think that it simply reiterated Hebrews 11:13-16. I can relate with Deb. 🙂
For the first time, (i’ve done it 4 times, so far) on the return flight to the city where i live, as we were about to land… i felt almost a relief that i was about to be “home” – i mentioned it to my husband. “Home” in this instance, meant our apartment, my routine, the places i go daily & weekly – the contacts i know there… a few friends that we hadn’t seen in about 2 weeks… my cat. =^,^=
And every day, since i ‘ve been back, i feel the home-shaped hole in my heart because i am always The Outsider (“that Americana”) here – and in some respects [culture] i prefer it… but it is hard.
I often wonder about Joseph, and how long it took him to feel content to call Egypt his [temporary] “home”. Like Joseph, i don’t want to be buried here. I know it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of eternity, but i would prefer to be cremated (after organ donation) & scattered somewhere in Texas …or Colorado. – It doesn’t have to be ceremonial, either! I’m just a practical person who would prefer not to have a headstone, as we will all return to dust. 🙂
Genesis 3:19 ~ “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
This post really touched something in me, that i think about more than i’d like to… it’s an ever-present dimension to my ‘new life’.
It hits me whenever I’m back in NE. It is home though I haven’t lived there in almost 20 years now.
I’m in a chosen/willing exile.
If only the winters weren’t so long & cold.