May 30, 2005

A Quest for Home

Home is an issue that every military brat must come to terms with at some point. The dictionary defines home in several ways and most people define home by the first definition I found “the place, such as town or country, where one was born or has lived for a long time” coupled with “an environment offering security and happiness.” For a Brat these elements are rarely the same – IF there is a place at all where we have lived “a long time.”

For a brat “Home” is either not a sentimental issue – simply a place where you sleep, or they are still on the quest to find “home” which can be very lonely and depressing. One article I read lately, dealt with these issues of home… Like many other military brats, I also have no place to call home. My civilian friends always laughed at me when we went on school trips because I was apt to call the hotel that we were staying at 'home.' They never understood that where I lay my head is home. However, I once did consider New Hampshire to be my home. I lived there for six years, and when they announced that they were closing the base I was heartbroken. I insisted that New Hampshire was my home, though, up until we went back to visit a few years ago.” For so many of us – we may feel “at home” in one place for a while but often a visit back reveals how much we no longer – or never really - belonged there.

So eloquently put by another brat: “I realized that the bases I’d been barred from ever since I turned twenty-one were not my home. I’d thought they were because I had lived there, swam there, learned to drive, earned a brown belt in judo, eaten at the mess hall, sat in cockpit of an F-105, spent whole days in the Air War College library. Isn’t that what a hometown is, the place where you do those things? But those years on base and that childhood belonged in some fundamental way to my father and the U.S. Air Force, not me. You can’t go home again, of course--no one can, as Thomas Wolfe is famous for reminding us--but for military kids the fence between the past and the present is not only figurative, it’s also literal, and that makes it even more potent in memory.”

So what is home? You can drive yourself crazy trying to find it here on earth, looking for a place to belong. A place where, like Cheers, every body knows your name. But I think I’ve found the most peace in understanding that my home is in Heaven. Not here on earth. Some day, I will go home and be at rest – Until that day, these gypsy feet will continue to take me from one adventure to the next, in one town, or another. Whether I’m here for the rest of my life, another decade or simply the rest of the summer, I have a truly permanent home in Heaven with Christ.

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