This post was originally published on my old (and now defunct) blog on 24 September 2006. No, that’s not a typo: it was about four months after Neal and I married that I finally discovered home.
Tonight, on the way home from B&N where Neal and I do work now and again, I saw lights glaring up into the sky. I, being from Illinois, wondered what stadium was nearby that I didn’t know about that would have lights glowing that bright into the night sky.
Neal asked, “Are those northern lights?”
Brilliant me asks, “Where…? Oh! Yes! They are!” (Yes, complete with all those exclamation points because I was quite excited.)
I still remember the first time I saw the northern lights, standing with Neal in front of his old apartment building, a beautiful old stone house. I was leaning back against him, gazing up at them in wonder and awe, excited by this display that I couldn’t see back “home” in Illinois.
I’ve written about contentment (or lack thereof) in my sense of place, which has been my state for pretty much all of my life, no matter which state I actually lived in. My motto has always been Wherever I am, I am there, which basically means that I could fit into, could feel comfortable with any place I found myself. During my admissions job, I slept a new place almost every night and was fine wherever I was.
But nowhere seemed like home.
Tonight, I finally felt a sense of home, leaning back against Neal, now my husband, and watching the pale green lights flicker up and down the sky, shooting fingers of grace into the heavens.
I didn’t know where I would end up, if I would ever find such a place as “home,” a place I’ve often heard others speak of but one that I’ve never truly experienced with complete contentment before. A place of pure belonging and satisfaction in being.
For me, it appears that this is a place with night water that glows with lights from the city and large ore boats, shining brightly on the lake’s corrugated surface. It is a place of unexpected grace, brightening a darkened sky with feathery wings of diaphanous and ephemeral splendor. It is a place where I can lean back and see all this, spread out before me, and be held tightly by one who cares beyond seeming possibility.