The Way Home. Itineraries like this one appeared at intervals in my journals for several years, detailing the trains, planes and buses needed to deliver me safely back to a little village in Germany. I called them The Way Home, even on the earliest adventures, when I’d just moved to a village hemmed in by high, green hills.
I first left home in 2010, flying away from the coffee and rain-soaked Pacific Northwest in pursuit of calling and adventure in Kandern, Germany, where I’d be a teacher at Black Forest Academy, a Christian international school primarily serving the children of missionaries in the Eastern Hemisphere. I would teach English and history, I thought, a two-year hiatus from the familiar public-school life I’d come to enjoy in Seattle.
As often happens, I stayed in Germany longer than I expected to—six years longer, in fact—and along the way I did far more than the teaching I’d signed up for. These were years of learning and growth, years that I learned to live in community and relationship, no longer the independent “girl with a backpack” who first stepped off the train. Years later, I’ve returned to the Northwest, still a teacher, but also a wife, a mother, a mentor, a coach, a baker, a potter, a writer and a friend.
And home? On two continents, with friends, family and former students pulling my heart to every place between, I’ve come to call many places home. The earthy practicality of that small German town, nestled between forests and vineyards. The spare, traditional grandeur of an Austrian hamlet at the base of the Alps. The native language of bicycles, books and coffee that makes Seattle my point of origin. In each conversation with my ever-moving students, I heard it again and again: home is either nowhere, or everywhere.
I choose everywhere.
Because, as I wrote long ago, at the beginning of this journey, “even the ninth graders know that home isn’t a building or a city; Abraham learned that it wasn’t a country or even a family. Home is Christ. And in pursuit of home I’ll go anywhere, for however long it takes to get there.”
I am thankful for homes, for the finding and leaving and returning that they entail. Join me as I keep discovering, with each new day, a deeper sense of the way home.