I just returned from my first visit back to Nashville since I moved to Austin in January. I haven’t really written about this move since then. I got here and immediately I finished up edits on the book, got the launch team going, went to Israel for a couple of weeks, came back, geared up for release time. Etc. Etc.
Now that it’s done, I’ve had a chance to step back, take a breath and think about it.
It was strange. When my plane was landing in Nashville, I teared up a little. I had missed the city that had been my home for seven years. But by the time I had exited the concourse and was walking through the airport I’ve walked through dozens of times, I forgot I didn’t live there anymore. I switched into “I’m home” mode and had to remind myself as I waited for my luggage, “Wait, I don’t live here anymore.”
At the same time, it doesn’t really feel like I live in Austin either. I forget how long it takes to settle into a city. To be there long enough to get familiar with the highways and back roads, what areas to avoid during rush hour. (In Austin, that’s every area, and rush hour is all hours.)
Getting to know the rhythm of a city takes time and discovering your place in it takes even longer. Friends, where your favorite happy hour spot it, favorite pizza place, favorite running trail. All of those things are still question marks for me. Austin, to me, is only a wee seven months old.
Being in Nashville last week made me realize that yes, there’s no place like home, but also, sometimes no place feels like home. And what do we do in the in between? When we are post-home and pre-home, somehow, in between home?
It’s such an uncomfortable place, when you are landing but have not yet landed. I think the Andrea in her twenties would have found her way by forcing it. Getting involved in every little thing, volunteering, joining a small group and a women’s Bible study. Setting coffee and lunch dates whenever possible. Going to an event or party she didn’t actually want to go to but felt like she had to.
This isn’t how 31-year-old Andrea is. I’ve been taking this move at a glacial pace compared to my others. I haven’t “joined” anything. I haven’t gone out a whole lot. I haven’t even hung curtains in my room, though this has more to do with the age of my drywall than it does my lack of desire to nest.
I guess I’m doing what I said I would, but it’s still been uncomfortable at times. This knowing I am not supposed to be in my former city yet still wondering why I am in my current one.
This feeling does not only occur when we move, does it? The between feeling is usually occurring in one area of life or another: between jobs, between dreams, between relationships, between hopes.
Perhaps the worst part of feeling between home is also the best part. I cannot make a place home; it can only happen with time. In this, I have had to release—almost daily—a lot of the control that makes me feel good, comfortable and accomplished. Every time I get lost. Every time I find myself feeling a little bit lonely. Every time somebody tells me what neighborhood she lives in and I have no idea where it is. These are all reminders that this isn’t home yet, and I can’t make it be so overnight.
This is prime ground for God to work in, the ground that we have no tools or means to work in ourselves, the ground that we cannot force to futility. I have felt him here in the between home in a way I haven’t felt him elsewhere. I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s like, he’s just here. This steady presence, not speaking very loudly or doing any big amazing things, but somehow I feel that he is at work, digging, planting, sowing. In a way that only he can do.
Have you felt this?
There has been more peace in this between home season than I have felt for a long, long time. That doesn’t make sense, which is how I know I have finally left my field to the one who should be working it.
When I went back to Nashville last week and drove on the familiar highways and back roads, it felt good to be there, but I also knew that God had moved my story somewhere else. It was time to look out the car window and say goodbye, and when I landed back “home” in Austin, I felt like, for the first time, I could really say hello.
15 years after our move from Texas to Indiana I have learned to describe my being in Indiana as “being a missionary in a foreign land”. I have connections in Indiana – wonderful friends and a wonderful church home. However, it still doesn’t “feel” like home. It doesn’t feel like home because I’m NOT home here. But, as much as I love Texas and my Texas family, I don’t feel “home” there either. My home is in eternity – with God. That helps me put it in perspective.
I am 9 months into a new place, a place I thought would feel like home almost immediately, but that just hasn’t happened yet. Thank you for these words! I needed the reminder to be patient, and releasing control to God is what I need most in this transition.
Andrea, I feel exactly the same way moving to Abilene after 22 years in San Antonio. Abilene should feel like home since I was raised here but even though familiar, not home. Time has a way of defining more than location. Time defines the feelings in our hearts. Thankfully, God is in all of the feelings. Thanks for sharing your journey. It really resonates with my heart.
Thank you so much Andrea. Thank you!
I’ve read this piece,” Between Home” a number of times. Somehow I keep returning to it.
There are a lot of unanswered questions relating to the three posts above. The presence of God you felt in Austin and your decision to abandon the work to he who should be “working it.” The question is who’s that person? God? Or one that should be sent by God to do the work who may also be the answer to your prayer? Could that be the reason you decided to take the back seat in readiness for starting a family? I think you’ve decided wisely. Very few career women work from home these days. There are a few exceptions, those with young families and a few others. You’ve decided wisely.
May God send to you the one who would do the work with you there in Austin Tx.
Thanks Ms. Andrea.
I believe we’re all missionaries in a foreign land, as that lady ^^, said.
The diaspora is a daily struggle w/which allthe Triune Deity’s dudes/dudettes struggle …. Except the Home Away folks.
Thanks for writing.