Traveling has its inevitable joys, wonders, and exciting moments. Who doesn’t love a beer before noon while sitting on the beach reading a book? What’s not to enjoy about seeing a new place? Or having what was perhaps the greatest Italian meal I’ve ever consumed on the coast of Kenya?! Regardless of how exciting your travel vacation might be, eventually, you begin to miss your creature comforts-your home, your bed, your routine, and familiar faces.
Home has a powerful draw. Home tugs at your heart when you feel lonely. Home comforts your body when you feel sick. Home warms your soul when you need to reset.
Homes, unlike houses, are not tied to physical locations. Home has a mystical ability to shift, transform, and move with your heart. As you grow in love with a people, a place, a culture, a moment, a part of your heart is planted in the soil, and new homes blossom. The tacky TJMaxx signs are correct, “Home is where your heart is.”
In life, we meet people who pick, pull, break off, and hold pieces of our heart. Friends, family, friends-turned-family, mentors, and strangers each hold, love, and sustain our hearts. Like a lizard regrowing its tail, the gap left from the given-away pieces causes our hearts to grow larger to fill the space. Those pieces left behind become the blossoming homes that dot the world’s landscape.
Having been blessed to travel and live in various places, I’ve written several times about home. Amongst vineyards in southern France. At a high school on Poplar Level Road in Louisville. In tiny apartments on college campuses. In my hometown city. At social service agencies in Louisville. No matter where I lay my head for a few nights, I am always surprised by how quickly new homes grow.
Planted beneath a forest of avocado trees, amidst rows of sukuma wiki and ripening tomatoes, and nestled alongside towering sugarcane poles, a piece of my heart is buried. Fertilized by constantly-clucking-and-cocking chickens, nourished by daily drenching rains, and encouraged by distant school-boy laugher and games, a new home is blooming. Like the ever blossoming tropical flowers that line the walkways and blanket the grounds, a new home buds.
After a week of traveling throughout Kenya, returning to Bungoma felt like returning home. Here there is a routine that I know. Here there are cupboards with delicious tea bags. Here there is laugher, familiar faces, games, and inside jokes. Here where beautifully colorful birds nest, here where bees cultivate delicious honey, here where boys grow into men, here where postulants become brothers, here where a momma laughs loving preparing each meal, here pieces of my heart have found a home.
As these final weeks in Kenya turn into days, I will nourish my heart, knowing it is growing into a new home.
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