The morning was not an uncommon one as I prepared for my trip. I awoke like any other morning to the sights and sounds I knew so well. I was leaving on a journey I had made so many times before, but this was the first time I would travel alone. I tried to overcome that feeling of solitude and tell myself this drive would be not unlike the others before it.
As I placed needed items in the car and prepared to leave the feeling of newness to the venture couldn’t escape me. I reminded myself that the uneasiness was only a result of traveling alone, and the feeling would pass. I traveled the very familiar route I had frequently traveled and passed landmarks I recognized. I silently commented to myself on their familiarity as I passed each one and reminded myself of the first time I saw each of them. Each had its own story to tell.
Although the road and sites along the way had not changed, the emotions swelling up within me were most certainly ones I hadn’t experienced before. The sense of loneliness was inescapable and grew as I traveled the familiar road gradually nearing my destination. I began to understand that even the memory of the destination was different. I tried to transform the new thoughts into old comfortable ones, but I couldn’t.
I arrived at my destination and tried to act as if everything was as it had always been, but it wasn’t. I was nervous as I thought others would discover that something within in me was different. How could I conceal the feelings I felt were so obvious to everyone? What would people think of me once they discovered I was not the person they had come to know?
After a brief stay I started my return trip unsure if my masquerade had been successful or if my feelings were known by others. As I traveled along the familiar road I passed the time by calculating the time remaining until I saw my house. In the past I always experienced a sense of anticipation as I neared the journey’s end, but I was not anxious to see the building I lived in. It was as if I was lost and searching for something that escaped description.
The miles passed and a feeling of confusion overwhelmed me as I realized I didn’t know how to get home. I didn’t know where my home was and no map could help me get there. No one would be able to give me directions. How was it possible that, after all those years, I couldn’t remember where my home was? Although I didn’t know how to get there I kept driving and passing recognizable sights. I hoped that if I kept going the location of my home would eventually come to me.
As I neared the journey’s end I realized why I couldn’t find my home. All the things that made the house I lived in my comfortable home had changed. Going home isn’t about returning to wood, bricks and nails, it’s about returning to someone you know and love. Without that person the home you once knew no longer exists, and there is merely a lonesome house to enter. I finally began to understand that it may take forever to make a new home, and forever seemed like a very long time.
As a little lost Kansas girl named Dorothy once so eloquently and tearfully proclaimed, there’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.