Home (and other four-letter words)

I cringe when I hear people use profanity. I intentionally do not allow myself to become desensitized to it, no matter how much the culture I live in tries to make me comfortable with disrespectful language.

Similarly, I cringe when I hear the word HOME.

Our world romanticizes the idea of “home.” Dorothy reminds us, “There’s no place like home.” There is something comforting about having a small corner of the world to call our own. At home, we can be ourselves. The places are familiar and the people know us. When you have a home, you have a community.

But for a portion of the population whose career paths force them to move multiple times, home takes on a drastically different meaning.

HOME is a four-letter word. MOVE is also a four-letter word.

But as Carolyn Allen notes in The Coach’s Wife, “Isn’t it funny how the words ‘m-o-v-e’ and ‘l-o-v-e’ are almost the same? Perhaps it’s to remind us how much can be packed into those four letters, and that it takes a lot of love to move.” We leave home, we move, because we love our spouses and we love the lifestyle that comes with this career.

Moving can be so exciting, and the process of seeing different parts of the country while driving from the old home to the new can make for a great built-in vacation. The prospect of a better career opportunity is also a blessing. In our case, every move has been clearly orchestrated by God, so we’ve accepted them without question.

But it is also so complicated.

When people ask me where I’m from, I stare blankly at them for several seconds. The simple question becomes even more complicated if it refers to my husband and me as a couple. Instead of a simple answer, it becomes, “Well, originally… but we met in… and we’ve also lived….”

After we left Kansas to make our new home in California, my husband and I spent a week in Colorado while he worked a baseball showcase and camp. I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to see an eye doctor and update my prescription for contact lenses. I didn’t realize the crisis I would face when I had to fill out a simple form with a line for “Home Address.” I stared at it, on the verge of tears, wondering if my lack of a home address meant I was homeless.

Similarly, I have felt “homesick” and been entirely uncertain of exactly which home I am longing for. The more I have tried to figure this out, the more “homeless” I have felt.

The biggest problem, though, is when I spend too much time comparing one home to another, especially if the current home does not measure up. Like a toddler with a fists clenched as she wails and pounds her parent’s chest, I have clenched my fists and wailed to God and pounded on His chest. I have questioned His purposes for the path we’re on.

I’ve found that if I just keep waiting patiently, He will make the pieces start to fall into place eventually.

I was told once by another coach’s wife who had survived several moves, “You can live anywhere.” At the time, I was about to leave my fourth city in eight years and head to the fifth, and I realized how right she was, especially for those of us who move to college towns. There are always good people to get to know. A grocery store is never too far away, and there are usually at least a few affordable options of things to do in our free time to relax or have a good time. There are always a few options for churches. There are always schools that need teachers. Most colleges have events on campus if the town has little else to offer. And, if all else fails, at least we know there will be a baseball team to invest in and baseball games to watch. Some places may have more to offer than others, and some places are easier for us to “fit right in” than others, but I’ve found it’s true that we can live anywhere—at least anywhere with college baseball.

And when I have my doubts, I have to keep one important thing in perspective: this world is not my home.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” – Matthew 6: 19-20 (NIV)


One thought on “Home (and other four-letter words)

  1. Honest and raw, and beautifully written! I can think of several wives who would appreciate this, whose husbands have all different transient careers. Love it!


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