There’s no place like…

Home.

I was talking with a friend the other day about the concept of “home.” In theory, it’s simple – home is where you live.

But what do you do when “where you live” doesn’t feel like home?

My conversation was with someone who was still searching – who had never really felt at home – in his hometown, college community or current job site.
He’s still searching for that true “home.”

Maybe we are all displaced in some ways. We’re looking for the place we feel at home, the community that accepts us for who we are, the people we feel at home with, or that comfort that just plain feels right.

And wow is it hard to find sometimes.

Maybe in some eternal sense, we’re never meant to really feel at home. Maybe it’s supposed to be part of that fallen human condition. But like heavenly love, I think there must be some earthly equivalent.

I have to laugh a little inside when my parents refer to visiting their hometowns as “going home.” I don’t know if they say it out of habit or if that’s still where they feel most at home. Maybe I’ll ask them this weekend.

I know my hometown was literally my home for at least 18 years, but like my friend, I’m not sure I ever really felt at home there.

My college town? Eh, not so much. Sure, there were moments moments that usually fell at about 3 a.m. in the college newspaper office or at 11 p.m. in some random hallway with girlfriends. But home wasn’t a consistent feeling during my higher education years either. For me, I guess home has never really been “where I live.” It’s always been more of a feeling of comfort, of community and of being connected.

At times, home is a comfortable spot on a secluded beach. Sometimes it’s hanging out in a barber shop with some good friends. Sometimes it’s sitting at my desk at work writing and rewriting a column that just isn’t meeting my expectations quite yet. Sometimes it’s sitting on my couch cuddling with my pug.

I don’t remember exactly when Okoboji started feeling like home to me. It was sometime in the past couple years. I went from ready to flee at any moment to settled seemingly overnight.

And then – I bought a house. I’m happy to say it feels like home.