Home. I have to say, I love being home. To define that, I mean my house, where my stuff is and where my family lives. For a military family, the location of home changes frequently. We haven’t moved as many as some military families, but we’re finding that each move has a different feel to it. I recently read a book called After the Boxes are Unpacked and the author, Susan Miller, defined a move as not only something you do but something you feel. Oh, how right she is. Here is our list of military moves so far and how long we lived at each duty station:
- Forest City, NC to Fort Jackson, SC: 13 months (“supposed to be” 3 years)
- Fort Jackson, SC to Fort Carson, CO: 2.5 years
- Fort Carson, CO to Wiesbaden, Germany: 3 years
- Wiesbaden, Germany to Fort Jackson, SC: (6 months)
- Fort Jackson, SC to Fort Hood, Tx: (TBD)
Home has been in many different places, but it has always felt right. Hard to explain, but it has. Even here, in the last place I wanted to move, our house is home and I love being here. On the days we’re out and about for various reasons, we enjoy ourselves, but we really love the days we get to stay home. I am so thankful for this because we left a place in December that we really fell in love with and still, thinking of that house will always be mean thinking of home. We left home to come home, back to the United States. I am thankful that we feel at home here.
This series is going to document some of my thoughts on moving back from Germany as well as my difficulties in adjusting to Texas. I wrote most of the next several posts in mid-September but have put off posting them out of fear, maybe… Or maybe it’s because I really don’t like to dwell on negative things so I haven’t really liked the idea of going back to read what I had written to edit and make it post-worthy. Basically, I have stalled and procrastinated and am finally getting to the place where I’m willing to mess with it. I’ve healed enough that I can read through it without feeling it quite as deeply, so I’m willing to get my hands dirty and edit. I’ve decided I can’t make it perfect and I don’t have to edit it until it sounds book-worthy. The thoughts I’ve written down are disjointed and repetitive at times and I’m going to let go of my desire for perfection (which keeps me from moving forward) and just post anyway.
Let me share a few of the ways I know I’m healing so that I can prove to you that there is a happy ending.
First, running around Fort Hood has given me a familiarity with certain streets that feels great. When I drive a street that I have previously run I get the comfortable sensation that that street and I have a history. Along those lines, when we drove to Dallas this past weekend we passed by a few smaller towns; towns I’ve been to for various things: visiting new-to-Texas friends, the place we got our van’s air conditioner fixed, a restaurant our unit held a Hail and Farewell. The sense of familiarity was so great coming back into Killeen that it began to feel like we were “coming back home” instead of coming into a new town again.
Second, we have friends here. We are making relationships and enjoying the people who are here. The boys have made close friends and those friends have the same values we have. Priceless. I’m going to coffees and PWOC and making real connections with real people. I am praying about teaching a class next semester because I miss that. It’s been over 18 months since I last taught.
Third, the sting of memories isn’t as painful. I’ll share more in an upcoming post, but there is quite a difference between clinging to the past and cherishing it. I still get homesick for my Germany house, but I have learned how to think about it rather than dwell on it.
I believe quite a few things have aided in my healing. Those I mentioned above (exercise and making friends) in addition to time, Facebook conversations, prayer, books I’m reading, counseling, and finding that others have felt this way, too.
I’m scared to share this series and I don’t know why. I’ve had nothing but positive feedback and sincere encouragement from the moment I first mentioned my struggles. But it is time.
I originally titled this series, “2 months” because my biggest breakthrough was at the date when we had been in this house two months. I was chiding myself for still being so off, so out of sorts, so depressed, so unsettled, when it hit me… we’ve only been in this house for two months! I was wondering why I was still not myself when we’d been in the states for eight months. I was being really really hard on myself when I realized that I had not even been in this house for two months yet. Two months! A person needs time to adjust to a new place, and my heart had been in transition since October. It was then September and we had been in transition for almost a year. NO WONDER I was still not quite on solid ground. No wonder my heart hadn’t settled. It was longing for the beauty and peace we had had in Germany, but it needed to find it here. As soon as it hit me that I simply hadn’t had enough time in this house to feel settled, I gave myself a break. I relaxed and let time do its thing. I read several books and re-read sweet emails from friends who have traveled this path before.
Since I’ve now been in this house for three whole months, I thought the original title wasn’t quite as fitting, so I changed it to what it currently is. “Leaving home to go home.” I like it because it allows me to consider where I previously was “home” and also allows me the permission to make this my home.
I hope to conclude this series with a list of resources that I have found helpful in my healing and that others have recommended. Feel free to post in the comment section or email me, letting me know of anything you think would be a benefit to others in similar situations.
Other posts in this series: