We are moving…again. This is my husband’s and my third cross-country move in six years as a married couple, fourth if you count me moving in once we were married, and our first with kids. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in temporary military housing on a base in the Keys as we wait for our new house to be ready in a few weeks. After being on the road for a month, taking our time to visit with friends and family along the way, it feels good to be at our final destination, and a beautiful one at that. But I’d be lying if I said I love the transition from one “home” to the next.
Having to find new grocery stores and doctors’ offices, favorite breakfast spots and parks, making new friends and play groups is not something I particularly enjoy, especially with the memory of all the familiar places, faces, and routines still fresh in my brain from our last home.
The transition process is exciting, but disorienting; necessary, but isolating. And each time we experience it, I spend a lot of time doing some inward reflection. Where does my stability come from? Where can I find peace when all things familiar are suddenly gone? Where is HOME?
The answer is always the same. Home is where the Church is.
We went to Mass at our new parish the first Sunday after we moved here and I was taken aback by the hodgepodge of people who filled the charming basilica. Tourists and locals, children and elderly, people of all different ethnicities and social status—the church was completely packed. It was uplifting to witness a full melting pot of people from so many different walks of life joining together to sing and worship in humble adoration for an hour.
I was reminded of James Joyce who wrote that Catholicism means “here comes everybody!” It was obvious that the church was home to all of us, even those who had never been there before.
Eventually, my family and I will replace all of our old steadfast staples with new ones. I’ll get to know the hairdresser here as much as my last one, our new neighbors will fill the void that our previous ones left behind, and comfortable routines will be established. In a year’s time, we’ll feel as content here as we did in any of the other locations we’ve lived in the past.
Time has a funny way of making the foreign become the familiar, but the truth is familiarity isn’t what brings us peace. Only Christ can do that.
When I’m lonely or tired, homesick or overwhelmed by so many changes, I know exactly where to go to find consolation: the Church. There Christ will be waiting for me in the tabernacle, just as He was in California and Virginia and everywhere else before those places.
Our last stop before we got into Florida was to the Gulf Coast to visit family. On our last day there, we had breakfast at a diner. I met two older gentlemen there who asked where we were headed. “Key West!?” they said. “Well, y’all have a good time, but don’t forget where home is.”
Trust me, I won’t.