A few months ago, one of my roommates came and stood in the doorway of my room–her usual perch. She was externally processing about comparison, something along the lines of “I’ve just had to accept that I’ll never look like her.”
She left my room before I could formulate what I was feeling into words. I knew that I could tell her, “You are beautiful! I see it!”–though I knew that wouldn’t be helpful. Instead, the thought that lingered a little longer, the one that choked me up:
“You are more than someone who I look at and judge based on beauty.
You are home to me.”
Sometime sandwiched between the frenzy of freshman year and the nervous energy of this one, I must have stopped seeing my friends as any stranger might see them and started seeing all our memories wrapped up in one face. When my friends get home at night, I don’t think, “You would be much prettier if…”. I think, “It’s you. You! You mean so much to me.”
Now that I can articulate that I see people this way, all I’m pretty sure we can ever ask of ourselves is to keep looking toward the Lord and bringing the other one along for the ride, learning as we go–nothing else needs to change, as much as our insecurities might tell us otherwise.
When I duck into a friend’s dorm room, or get into the shotgun seat of another one’s car, or sit down at our standard-issue common room table to share a meal, I am home. I am home when I can be honest, when I can cry, when I am both challenged to listen more and still shown that I matter. A home is created when we make traditions out of camping trips and when we perch on our couch looking out the window, filling the time just to be together. A home is created when my roommate and I talk from our beds with the lights out, belly laughs punctuating the otherwise-quiet of drifting into sleep.
Places get a lot of credit for covering us in the tight bear-hug of home, but I think people are more deserving of the honor.
We graduated yesterday, and I’ll never stop being surprised at how the Lord shows up when we decide to jump into community without knowing all the answers. Thank you–for not being satisfied when I cling to shallow conversation, for being a home to me and teaching me how to be one as well. I can only pray to keep learning to be a home to others.