At the beginning of this year, when I moved away to college, I made a promise to myself that I would never refer to my school as "my home." I don't even know why, it just never felt right. I had lived in the same house for 18 years, wore down my neighborhood streets with my bicycle as a kid, and spent my summer nights as a teenager exploring new secret locations throughout the valley with my friends. Moving to college was a super dramatic thing in my life for some reason... I was only moving two hours away, but it felt like I was embarking on some hugely courageous undertaking. From my core group of friends from my senior year, I was the only one leaving, while everyone else was still living at home or still in high school. For these reasons, I sort of subconsciously viewed college as a temporary break from my living at home: I'd return for all four summers to be with my friends, visit many weekends, and on holidays.
This viewpoint held true for my entire first semester. I deliberately would say "I'm going back to my dorm" rather than refer to it as my home, even though I'd be living there for a good nine months.
About a month ago on the Cru Women's retreat, we went on a short hike and then read through a devotional individually. The focus was on self esteem and our self concept in relation to God. I was moved and God provided me with enormous insight on how I can improve in these areas. However, as I was sitting right here,
I'm not sure when it was, which I think makes it all the more natural and wonderful, but sometime near the beginning of second semester, I started calling Tucson "my home." A few times I did it without noticing, a few times I caught myself and thought about reverting back to my promise to myself. But no. I am so proud to call this my home. Perhaps it was the Tucson shootings in early January that broke my heart and felt so personal, perhaps it is the fact that my schedule allows more flexibility this semester, perhaps its the fact that I finally allowed God to soften my heart and let new people in.
Last week while at church with a friend (see, told ya) the pastor talked about how we can bless our city. This was just another piece of the puzzle for me... everything lately has been coming together to show me that this is where I am supposed to be, for now, so I better make the most of it. I have so many opportunities here, so many new freedoms, so many mistakes to make, and so many people to teach me new things. I learn every day how many opportunities I have here to not only reach other people, but to reach myself. Although I love being home with my parents and friends, there's always a part of me that is excited to come back. Because, for now, Tucson is my home, and home is where the heart is.