Nothing Quite Like Home

When we seek refuge, we often seek home.

When we seek refuge, we often seek home.

It’s almost an out-of-body experience.

Those moments when you’re somewhere else, seeing something with your own eyes that matters to you. Something different. Unique. Beautiful.

I feel it staring out over the Pacific Ocean in California.

I feel it strolling through the French Quarter in New Orleans.

I feel it driving from island to island in the Florida Keys.

It hit me walking in the shadows of the steel towers in Manhattan.

Touring the historical landmarks of the National Mall in Washington DC.

At the poker tables in Las Vegas.

Listening to the roar of Niagra Falls.

On the ghost tour in Savannah, Ga.

Partying in downtown Chicago.

Eating a cheesesteak in Philadelphia.

I like being somewhere else. Traveling. You can really feel all the wonderful strangeness.

The place you live can seem monotonous. Boring. Like a heavy weight on your shoulders.

Which probably means one of three things:

  1. We have made a bad decision about where we’ve chose to live.
  2. Something bad has happened to us, and we feel trapped where we are.
  3. We take for granted where we live. Choosing to focus on the negative aspects of living there rather than the many good things. Because there always are some.

I’ve had a hard time living where I live in Ohio since my divorce.

Every instinct I possess makes me want to run away. But my son is here. He’s five and precious and I will never leave him.

It’s a situation that can make you feel isolated.

That can exacerbate feelings of solitude and abandonment when you don’t have roots—no family or long-time friends or familiarity nearby.

And by familiarity, I mean the stuff you knew before you started your new life.

The stuff before your marriage. The stuff that isn’t marred by tainted or painful memories.

Those anchors are valuable all the time. They’re priceless in a healing situation.

I wrote a post a few days ago indicating my plans to try and write my first book. It is an idea I am excited about. And I hope very much to show the discipline and fortitude necessary to accomplish my goal.

I solicited feedback from readers, and I got a lot of wonderful, helpful, thoughtful advice and encouragement.

But I also got a few emails. All were amazing. But one in particular stood out.

Because it was from a girl I went to high school with. She was in a different class. While we were friendly, we were never exactly friends.

But it turns out she’s been following the blog for a while. I’m not sure how long.

That’s always a crazy feeling. When I find out someone I actually know is reading this stuff because it’s not something I think about when I write. If I actually took the time to visualize all the human beings reading and judging, I would never have the courage to hit that “Publish” button.

But here was someone I have spent a little social time with. Someone I’ve known, at least a little bit, for nearly 20 years.

And she’s reading. She likes it. And she had lots of thoughtful things to say about my book-writing plans.

In the immediate aftermath of my wife leaving, I craved two things: People who had been through a separation or divorce who could truly understand the madness I was feeling, and people I knew BEFORE my marriage.

Maybe that makes sense. Maybe it doesn’t. But there is something incredibly pure about those relationships forged during the more-innocent times.

When life was good.

Before everything broke.

And that’s what this note was.

A connection to my past. A little piece of beauty and light. A needed dose of warmth.

Not because we knew each other particularly well. Not because her advice is going to make my writing better necessarily. Not because she had a bunch of nice things to say to me, even though she did.

But because she represented all of that good from my former life.

Her message felt like home.

What a gift.

Because there’s nothing quite like home.

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21 thoughts on “Nothing Quite Like Home

  1. thejetlaggedmama says:

    You are from a part of Ohio near where I live…there is nothing to me like coming home after traveling all over. Keep up the excellent writing!

    Like

  2. mewhoami says:

    Where have you been? Okay, fine it was me. I’ve missed your posts for days now. I have some catching up to do. It’s neat that you were able to ‘run into’ someone from the past. I understand completely what you mean. There is something special about those long ago friendships. People who knew us, before we knew ourselves.

    Like

  3. If I didn’t already love your blog, the G Love totally would have sealed the deal.

    I have to say, one of the things I love about reading your thoughts is how much similarity I see in our situation. This is probably why many of your readers keep coming back.

    I thought I’d share some of them…if you don’t mind! Hahah! Actually, what makes them so funny to me is how often our experiences mirror each other. But more like a mirror twin, where they are exactly opposite.

    I left my husband. I was living in the Midwest where he was from and came home to heal…to Florida. I took weary bit of debt we had incurred over our almost 10 years together in order to get him to agree to let me move with our daughter. Unlike you, he hasn’t tried all that hard to maintain a strong relationship with her. She was 6 when we moved.

    Then things get completely similar…like a regular twin. I craved real relationships with people from my past. I sought out the familiar (the ocean) to help heal my pain. I re-lit old acquaintances and friendships in order to move on.

    It has all worked and in 7 years I have almost completely paid off that old debt and my daughter is surrounded by people who love her. And me? Well, my baggage is getting lighter and lighter. These days it feels more like an old fashioned valise, or carry-on, rather than a full set of beat up, worn out, Walmart brand luggage. I like old fashioned. I don’t mind a carry on. You can go anywhere with just your heart, your child, and a valise. :)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I’m glad you feel connected with some of our opposite, yet totally the same, commonalities. And I like that things are feeling so much better for you.

      Life is good. I got a little off-kilter the other day, and I’ve been feeling a little sheepish about it. But it was real. So it stays. I’m good. Friday is upon us. And there are plenty of wonderful things to celebrate. Please have a great weekend. :)

      Like

  4. nights7 says:

    Home is such an important concept.
    A few years ago (okay, like 6 or 7) I was a full time student and one of my class days was long. I left the house at 7:30am with my kids and wasn’t getting home until 10pm. The song Home by Blake Shelton was getting alot of radio play at the time and it would inevitably come on ten minutes before we got home which was also the time my then three year old would fall apart. He’d be crying from the back seat because he just wanted to be home in his bed while Blake Shelton sang “I wanna go home”.
    I still think of this when I crave home.
    In the twelve years I was married we moved alot. My definition of home became more about people and familiar things than location.

    I found your blog the same week that my divorce was being finalized. It was a bad time for me and finding some one else who had just gone through similar bad times was…almost comforting. I only know one person in real life who has been through divorce. There’s nothing like it; having someone to relate to and commiserate with helps alot.

    And, finally, just because you’re stuck where you are in a place that may not always feel like home now doesn’t mean you always will be. Life changes in ways we cannot predict and sometimes in ways we never imagined.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      :)

      Thank you for writing this to me.

      I’ve lived in my house for more than eight years now. This is still a sanctuary for me in a lot of ways. I choose gratitude.

      Like

      • nights7 says:

        I was able to buy a house when my ex & I were separating. On the first of September this year we, my kids and I, will have lived here two years and one day. It’ll be the longest any of them have lived in one house. Even though they have two homes now this place has been a sanctuary for them as well, at least I think and hope it has.
        I know it has been for me so I completely understand what you’re saying about home and sanctuary. And about choosing gratitude.

        Like

  5. Awesome post, awesome song. I had a similar experience this past weekend re-meeting an old dancer friend that I worked on some amazing projects with a number of years ago. Was so much fun and great to remember the awesomeness that was.

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    • Matt says:

      It’s his newest single off the album that comes out next month. Can’t wait to hear it. :)

      It’s good to have happy things from our past lift us up, I think. Hope you’re well!

      Like

  6. It can be challenging when all the familiarities we have built up seem to break away. When everything seems to be intoxicated with experiences we don’t wish to connect with, anymore. When every more or less recent memory seems to cause pain or a nauseaous feeling in the belly.

    And it can be very helpful to remember what we liked before that life. Or what we liked when we were children. And to take up forgotten healthy habits (, exercised, activities) that bring us joy.
    Also, I find it to be helpful to look for things I haven’t done, before, that bring me joy. Like for example writing the book you have mentioned.

    How wonderful that you got this e-mail from your school mate! She was your angel, that day. (We all are angels for somebody, sometimes.)

    Much love,
    Steffi

    Like

  7. I love the way you’ve pointed out the things that aren’t marred or tainted by the stuff that’s happened. It’s one of those things where you think “I thought I was the only one who felt that way”. Thank you for that. Also, what is a cheesesteak? We don’t have those over here.

    Like

  8. mollytopia says:

    This is beautiful. I’m so happy you received that special note. Looking forward to reading your book!

    Like

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