Home. For college students like myself, this term can refer to dorm rooms, hometowns and the houses we grew up in. Just when we finally begin to feel settled at one place, it’s time to uproot again. It’s a (seemingly) endless cycle.
This past semester, my family moved from my childhood home. When I returned to Baltimore for winter break, I struggled to find the sense of home I was once so familiar with. Until last week, that is. On Jan. 3, about a dozen of us from St. Margaret’s youth group gathered for college retreat. The focus was coming home to each other and to the Lord.
We participated in icebreakers, taking turns to answer thought-provoking questions about ourselves and our faith. We also prayed, read Scripture, journaled for personal reflection and had free time to reunite with one another. I was amazed how effortlessly we fell back into conversation and engaged in our usual banter as if no time had passed at all. Being in the retreat house with those individuals, who I see only a handful of times throughout the year, made me feel the sense of home I so deeply desired. The irony, I thought.
Then, I realized that home is not where, but who. Who makes us feel comfortable being ourselves? Who reminds us that we belong? Who helps us strengthen our relationship with God?
I know this isn’t some philosophical breakthrough, but this revelation has given me the comfort I needed. I hope it brings you a similar sense of peace as you leave home to return to campus for spring semester. If you haven’t already, I hope you find those who are home for you, who help you discover yourself and who help you seek God.