i'm reading a book by donald miller called through painted deserts. donald miller also wrote blue like jazz. he has a very unique voice in his books and they're easy and enjoyable to read. this one is about a road trip he took. he writes about leaving home and says,

"Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons...And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed. It's interesting how you sometimes have to leave home before you can ask difficult questions, how the questions never come up in the room you grew up in, in the town in which you were born. It's funny how you can't ask difficult questions in a familiar place, how you have to stand back a few feet and see things in a new way before you realize nothing that is happening to you is normal."

isn't that such a good description of what it means to leave home? when i left colorado to go to school in philadelphia it was hard. but when i came home, i saw home in such a different light. i appreciated the beautiful, snow-capped mountains that i can look out my window and see whenever i want to see them. i appreciated that my mom cooked dinner every night. i appreciated the comforts and the things that i had taken for granted before i left. everything was still here when i came back--the people, the places, the smells, the sights. i remember really well how different it all felt the first time i came back after being gone for only 3 months. it felt so different, but it was me that had changed, not my surroundings. leaving has never been easy for me, but it has allowed me to see things in a new light. it has always given me an opportunity for growth--even though that growth has come with great pain.

the past few months have been another "leaving home" experience for me. i reluctantly left philadelphia crying for two hours straight as i drove to new york city. i was re-reading my journal last night because i'm a few pages away from finishing it and i always like to read through a journal when i finish it to see where i've been since i started. as i was reading through some of my entries from august until now, i cried as i relived some of the pain and sadness that i felt when i was writing. but at the same time, i smiled as i read of my small victories, my joys, my praises, my awkward moments.

as i was reading, it struck me that the idealized times that i sometimes long for have never really existed. i have a tendency to remember only the good when i'm homesick or missing a certain time, place, or person. for example, when i was missing college and being surrounded by my friends, i remembered the fun times only. in my mind, if i could just be transported back to that time, i would be carefree with no troubles or worries. but as i read back further in my journal and traveled back to last year when i was a senior, i realized that although i did have friends and was in a comfortable place, i wasn't trouble free. i had different struggles, different hard times, different things that made me cry and laugh and smile. i realized that this is a journey that i'm on. i shouldn't think that i'm ever going to reach that perfect place in this world. because eventually i will feel as comfortable in new york city as i did in philadelphia or in colorado. eventually i will have deeper friendships in new york just as i did before. eventually new york will feel as much like home as the other places i have lived. but even when i reach that point, my life will not be perfect just like it has never been perfect. some days will be better than others, but i'm always going to have struggles and hardships no matter where i am, no matter what stage of life i'm in.

but, (and this is a big "but") the good news is that this journey that i'm on ends in my real home. the home that my heart longs for, but that i have never seen. it's a place that my earthly homes can only give me small glimpses of. it's the place that is bigger and better than i can even imagine. the wonderful feeling i have when i come home now will be magnified many fold when i reach my true home. i have the hope of reaching this real home some day to sustain me when i'm homesick for places or people. i have it to sustain me through my hard times. i have it to look forward to in my good times. the things in this world that are good should remind me of how much better my real home is and the things in this world that are hard should remind me that one day i will live in a place where there is no sadness, no tears, no pain, no sorrows.

Jesus tells us, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going."