Recently a student from the Department of Defense school at Ramstein Air Force base gained attention for an amazing accomplishment. He was accepted at three of the U.S. service academies and a handful of other highly competitive Ivy league or prestigious universities. Getting accepted to one is a huge task, all three is crazy. I read the article about him and was quite impressed by his accomplishment, however the only detail I remember from the article was an excerpt from his Harvard application essay. He is an "Air Force Brat" and lived most of his life overseas. In the essay he wrote about a paradox in his life: "the curse of being a stranger everywhere, and the blessing of being a stranger nowhere”.
I was so moved by this one short description that so appropriately describes the social aspect of military life. A stranger to everyone and no-one. Home is everywhere and nowhere.
Somewhere in the past month between being sick, recovering, supporting baseball players, and cleaning my car out, Matt reached his one year milestone of working at that smiley-face company. One whole year. Unfortunately, it went by completely unnoticed and without any appropriate celebration. Matt was actually out of town on the date and then by the time he got back, it was old news. However, it is a big milestone for our family.
We are finding our place. Those words "we are currently stationed at ..." have left our vocabulary. We are not here because the Army told us to be, we are living in the green, rainy bliss of the Eastside of Seattle by choice and by God's provision. My local Target is nestled in the valley between two mountains (they are tiny mountains but they have mountain in their name so it must be true). I walk out of that store and see those mountains, or fill up at the gas station and see the sunset over the lake, or walk through the halls at Eli's school and catch a glimpse of the hang-gliders launching from the mountain that raises above his school football field and catch my breath... I LIVE HERE.
Last weekend I was in California for my sister-in-law's baby shower and skipped on over to my family's church for a prayer service. At one point the pastor told everyone to pray for the church. Within seconds my mind flipped to my church in Sammamish. And later he asked us to pray for our schools, and "my" students that I work with at Eli's school flashed before my eyes. Lastly, he told us to pray for our city, and the words Issaquah and Snoqualmie came to my lips.
Am I finally home?
We have known for years that we wanted to retire here in Washington but this move to the Eastside presented a lot of challenges. Half of my heart was still in Olympia. I wasn't fully ready to accept this city as my new home. There are dozens of cities that we could live in that provide reasonable commutes for Matt, and we constantly question which would be best for us. Over the past few weeks we have started seriously thinking about how we want to move forward in the coming year with regards to buying and selling homes. So many things are pointing to us staying right here on the Eastside, along the I-90 corridor.
Who knows how long it will be for, but right now, there is no place that feels more like Home.