Posted by: pendrops | November 9, 2006

home is…

nashville.jpg

I’ve grown accustomed to seeing people I know when I’m out and about here in Nashville. I’ve gone to enough churches, worked at enough companies, and taken enough classes in my six years here to know a healthy cross-section of Nashvillians. And countless trips to the store, the mall and the movie theater have proven it: I know and am known here.

Still, I’ve had a hard time calling Nashville home. Until today.

I worked from the local bookstore, click-clacking away on my novel as strangers passed by. In the background, a refrigerated case hummed, a frappaccino blender whirred, and the small gathering of patrons buzzed.

Then John walked in, a guy who led a Bible study I was in a few years ago. We hugged and did the 60-second catch-up thing that you do with people who have journeyed with you. My heart warmed at seeing this old friend, at hearing that he was well, at sharing a few tidbits of my own good news.

Not long after, I saw two guys I used to work with. We acknowledged each other from a distance. They could tell I was working and I could see they were on hurried lunch breaks.

Shortly after, another guy I went to church with walked in for a meeting. We hugged, smiled and wished each other well.

No sooner had he sat down, than a friend of my brother’s walked in with his laptop. We recognized each other and nodded.

The book I wanted to buy: $14.99.
The green tea I drank: $1.47.
Five sightings, one afternoon: priceless.

Is Nashville becoming home, I wondered. I couldn’t help thinking about Peoria, my hometown, as I considered this. In the first couple years I lived in Nashville, I ran into acquaintances, friends, neighbors, and classmates every time I went back to Peoria. And I liked that. I lived there 21 years; I expected to see and be seen when I returned.

Now seeing a familiar face at my old stomping grounds is a desperate rarity.

The old saying goes, “Home is where your heart is.” Another says, “Home is where you hang your hat.” Today I decided that home is where you feel known, comfortable, free to be you. And that may not be the place you’ve always called home.

The Peoria I knew as a girl has undeniably shaped me, but I feel awkward and out-of-the-loop when I go back now. Still, my heart will always beat to the rhythm of the Heartland. Even if I call Nashville home.

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