November 14, 2016: Becoming Home
I went to Athens for the game this weekend, and even though our football team suffered a heartbreaking loss, I gained a personal victory in a bunch of revelations about this one little word: home.
I realized, sitting in the middle of a section of mostly Georgia fans, cheering with my dad and two friends, halfway participating in the songs we knew the band was playing but could barely hear, insisting on “War Eagle always” as our offense insisted on sucking… I missed Auburn. I missed the boisterous, infectiously energetic student section. I missed going to Waffle House with my friends after the game. I missed the atmosphere, the feeling of pride in my school, the possibility of Toomer’s at the end of the night. Heck, I even missed the mic man.
And when I discovered that I really, truly, deeply missed Auburn, it dawned on me: I think I can start calling Auburn my home.
Later Saturday night, after a tragic loss and a terrific veggie burger, my friend Ashley and I were in her dorm. We started watching 10 Things I Hate About You on Netflix and ordered cookies (to be delivered?! to her dorm?! Auburn, get on that.). We cuddled on her futon for twenty minutes. And another thought dawned on me: this girl feels like home, too. This exhale of relief finally being back by her side, this comfort that we have knowing each other and being known by each other, this friendship that stretches the long three-hour drive between Athens and Auburn. This is part of my home, too.
Saturday night, we drove back to Atlanta. I slept in my own bed and had way too many of my mom’s pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, the ones that signify fall to me.
Sunday morning, we drove back to Auburn. My friend Katelyn gave us the grand tour of Pine Mountain, where she’s from. My friend Sarah tried to convince us to visit her in Alaska this summer. We listened to Taylor Swift’s Fearless album in its entirety and cheered when we crossed the Alabama state line.
I do not have one home.
I have many.
Atlanta, born and raised; Buckhead Church, which gave me the family that comes second only to my biological one; my high school that shaped me into who I am today; Athens, because Athens has Ashley; Elon, because Elon has Brittany; Syracuse, because Syracuse has Elijah; my dad’s 2007 Honda Accord, blasting the Jonas Brothers with my baby sister; Athens again, because Athens has Katie; Germany, because Germany has German Julia; Hogwarts, because Harry Potter; the Dunwoody branch of the library, because let’s be honest with ourselves here.
All the people and places that I’ve mentioned and at least a thousand more are my home.
Now, I get to add Auburn, the Loveliest Village on the Plains, to the list.
I have one home.
When I’m feeling rootless, He roots me in the truth of my identity as His daughter and the security of my position in His family. When I’m worried that no one likes me, His love is constant and unfailing and never to be removed. When I’m panicking about friendships, He’s my best friend. And when I don’t know where my home is, He is always, always, always there. While the pieces of my earthly home shift and add and subtract, my heavenly home is my heavenly Father Himself.
And Auburn and Ashley and Atlanta and all the other people and places I don’t want to name again because they’ll screw up the alliteration are my home, because my heavenly Father is in them. And He is my one true Home after all.
(“The Freshman Fifteen” is a year-long blogging project posting every fifteen days of my freshman year of college. Follow along for life updates, deep thoughts, and everything in between.)