Home (n.): the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
“The place where one lives permanently”… I don’t have that. Now, before this comes off as ungrateful, let me begin by saying I am very blessed. God has poured an abundance of grace and love into my life. He has taken me all over the country, connected me with so many people, and introduced an entirely new world I never knew before. But, I’ve still been struggling lately.
My husband and I live a pretty nomadic life. His career in the NFL has us living in both Baltimore, MD, and Memphis, TN; and my career as an actor has us located in Los Angeles, CA, for a few months as well. So, in a twelve-month time frame, we move at least five times between those three cities.
My problem isn’t with the shuffling from here to there, deciding whether to fly or drive, or constantly wondering if my favorite sweater was left on the East Coast or the West. Lately, I’ve been struggling with the urge to settle down in one place – one city, one home with all our belongings where we can spend each week with everyone else that gets to live in one house all year long. I haven’t lived in one town for twelve consistent months since 2006. I feel unplugged, out of place, fleeting – as though I don’t belong anywhere.
Living in LA for a few months a year is incredible. The weather is beautiful, there is so much to do, and I’m surrounded by people striving for the same thing I am. The entire city is full of actors, writers, musicians, and directors, and everywhere you go, you’re inspired. The thing about LA is it’s super fast paced – there’s a never-ending shift and everyone is going going going. So when someone like me comes in for a few months at a time, I leave and it’s like I was never there. I build relationships, do my best to keep in touch, but it’s never a permanent, comfortable feeling.
In Baltimore, I have the support of the girls on the team. We’re all going through the ups and downs of the NFL together. They are my family. The women here are the ones I spend holidays with because there’s a chance you could be watching Morgan on TV while you eat your Thanksgiving dinner. They take me to lunch on my birthday, call me to hang out when the guys are away, and they’ll probably be the ones to come over when my screaming newborn won’t settle down while I’m home alone. However, we won’t be in Baltimore once he’s done with the Ravens, so even though we have an amazing life here, it’s still an awkward, temporary mindset.
Memphis will always be a “home” for us. It’s where we were both raised, and all of our family is there. I get more homesick for Memphis than I do with either of the other two cities. Even so, I go back and still feel left behind. The people and places are the same, but life has moved on despite my absence. I’m missing so many things that happen while I’m away that I feel like an intruder. Yet, so many things change for me while I’m gone that I feel like a fish out of water, too.
I’m caught between three different worlds. When I’m in one place, I try to talk about my life in the other cities, but no one can identify. Each time I move, I readjust to the people and the lifestyle. There’s an internal battle to merge the three together, but it’s a battle I’m fighting alone because no one else can relate. My friends in Baltimore don’t know my family in Memphis, and our teammates on the Ravens have no idea how to respond when I talk about an audition I’ve just had in LA. Home is all three places and none of the three at the same time. I belong, but I don’t. I’m constantly surrounded, yet completely alone. Home is everywhere, yet nowhere.
And why do none of these places feel like home?
Because none of them truly are.
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on this earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have an opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13–16
No matter how hard I try, I will never be completely comfortable. Whether we are living in one place or ten, we will always feel a bit unsettled, because this is not our true home. We don’t belong here. This life was only meant to be for a short time, and I’m at peace with that. One day we will no longer feel uneasy, unsure, overlooked, or forgotten. We will be settled in our forever home with our heavenly Father. Don’t be discouraged when you feel like a stranger on this earth. This life is temporary, and when God’s timing is right, those of us who trust in the Lord will be reunited in our eternal home.