It is the eve before I set off again. Destination: Nashville. My heart swells at the sweet thought of familiar arms wrapping around me and of brick walls that have now become home. I am also deeply sad. My eyes burn as I think of the faces and hearts I love in my hometown, the family and friends that I hold so dear. Truly, this has become a bittersweet season.
I remember the days when I first moved to Nashville and I was abounding with joy, itching to move on with my life. Goodbye, paper city; hello, Music City! The future laid before me was brimming with possibility and the unknown and adventure.
Nashville has brought me to life, has taught me things about myself and the passions that are engraved on my very soul. Dreams that I thought were once dead have been nursed to life, bearing fruit and beauty. I will always love Nashville, and the family I have borne there.
Yet, as I prepare to leave behind me the tall, steaming, red and white striped mill, my heart is heavy. It is weighed by the birthdays I miss. The celebrations I only hear of several days after. The dances, the arguments, the hard things, the happy. The moments in the lives of my family, my kin, all happening approximately 6 hours away from my own.
I know that I only continue to thrive in the season I am in. I know that once these days are behind me, I will miss the sweet connection of close knit community. I will miss being able to walk five steps to my friends’ door, to trade bites of food and Netflix passwords. This time in my life is so special, and holds something so unique, that I cherish and value so deeply.
How unfair the matters of the heart can be. I never knew what it was like to have your heart pulled in opposite directions. Now I have to wrangle my heart across state borders, down high ways and paved roads while it stretches painfully.
The thing is, I can’t keep my heart in just one place. There are important parts of me in both. Both have played the biggest roles in molding me into the woman I am today. Chillicothe bore me, raised me, gave me my heritage. Nashville has sharpened me, pointed me, gave me direction and hope.
My license now says Nashville, but if I’m honest, my heart has two home addresses. I can’t pick one, and I frankly think it’s rude the government requires me to. In this season of life, I am home in more than one place. While I am physically present in one, I am holding the other at heart. The only balance I can think to bring to this inevitably painful, bittersweet existence, is to choose to be home in my heart, wherever I am.
I choose to perpetually occupy and be present in my heart; to know the inner workings, to hear its voice. I want to feel the drafts, the renovations, the warmth of the hearth. I want to settle in and get familiar, to be at home. I don’t want to be a stranger in my own self, though I feel pulled in different directions. Home is where you kick off your socks and shoes, where you pour a glass of juice and talk for hours around the island. This is what I want. This is the peace and the familiarity I want for myself.
This is my life right now. My heart is in two different places always, but when I feel the shaky, sad loneliness, I breathe deeply. I connect to my Spirit, to my heart, and I allow the breath of God to center me. Then I settle in and listen to myself; and suddenly I find the loneliness isn’t quite so sharp. I feel the warmth of home.