We pulled into our home in beautiful New Hampshire at 6:15pm last night. I don't know how I feel about calling that a restful vacation. It was kind of forever. We came home to little posters with sweet notes taped all over our porch and door, a huge banner in our kitchen saying, "Welcome Home, Pele missed you," a fresh gallon of milk in the fridge, and a chicken dish waiting in the fridge to be put in the oven. We have the best neighbors in the world. Sounds like we got home just in time though. Pele had stopped eating yesterday. I think she really felt abandoned. She was so happy to see us and all is well again. Anyone who has spent some time away from home knows that wonderful feeling of coming back to your own bed, fridge, bathroom, and having a good place for time-outs.
As we drove passed the trees, the early 1900 cape style homes, the rivers, and could smell that we were home I pondered over how split and torn I feel inside at times. Where the heck is home? During the three weeks we were out there I spent time in Cedar City (where I went to high school and my parents and grandparents still live), Salt Lake (where I worked and went to school for 5 years, Jeremy's family, and my sister and her family live), and in Idaho (where I went to school and worked for 2 years). I visited with family, friends, old roommates, teachers, and co-workers that have all been a part of my life. I feel like I have left threads of my soul everywhere I've been and truly loved what I have gained from each person and place. Utah, Spokane, Florida, Idaho, New Hampshire, Maryland, it all feels like home. Even staying at Primary Children's hospital for that week in a way felt like home because it reminded me so much of working at Shriners. In a way that really did feel like a vacation because there was only one child to take care of, I was not responsible for laundry or meals, and there were several people around I could always ask to hold Sydney so I could shower or eat. That would not have been the case if things were more life-threatening. This is all beside the point though.
I talked to my mom about all of this - how I feel like I may never be whole because everywhere I am I miss parts of and people from where I've been. As we talked she said something that reminded me of something CS Lewis says in Mere Christianity. I'm not going to quote him perfectly, but more or less that we will never feel completely whole until we are with God again. That all of the love and joy we feel in this life, all of our good memories and peaceful feelings are shadows of what life is like with our Heavenly Father. Only then will we feel complete. So to all of those who have been pieces of Heaven in my life, who have helped me feel the love of Heavenly Father through their love, friendship, and examples (even the ones who don't believe in God!), I just want to express how much joy you have given me. Even the ones I almost never have contact with anymore. My life has been so enriched because of yours, so thank you. Friends from Badger Creek, Cedar City, roommates, people at Shriners, mission companions, people at the Burn Unit, most especially family, and this list can keep going on, but I just wanted to express how grateful I am for the love of so many and how amazing life has been.
I don't know where Jeremy and I will end up. And we'll always miss the places we've been. I'm just grateful for the faith that we can be made whole in the next life and that all of our experiences are for our good.