When your Heart Finds a Home

Jonny and Yasmin got married on a beautiful day in New Plymouth, New Zealand. While hints of rain threatened in the morning, the afternoon was clear and sunny. It was perfect.

Yasmin is a kindred spirit and daughter of my dear friend Jenny. She is years younger than I am, but through background and personality we have a definite and unique connection. 

Yasmin was first raised in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, an area known primarily because of Malala Yousafzai. Swat Valley is a ruggedly beautiful place with deep gorges and mountain streams that grow into rivers that run over rocks. Swaying rope bridges connect mountains together high above these rivers. This is the same Swat Valley where the Taliban shot a 14-year-old girl because she was a threat and the  United States droned innocent civilians with one click because surely among the many innocent there would be one who was guilty. 

At the time, much of Swat was stunning untouched terrain and Yasmin’s family, the McGrane’s, were the only foreigners most people had ever met. 

While growing up, our family would vacation in Swat Valley, staying in a sturdy family tent or a rest house. When my husband and I lived in Pakistan with our first child, we too vacationed there, recording the trip through pictures taken of the two of us holding a baby and a toddler, steady as only the young can be on a rope bridge swaying high above a scenic river.  

I didn’t meet Yasmin in Pakistan. I met her when she was ten years old and the family had moved to Egypt. Our families connected and developed a lasting friendship, challenged by miles of continents and oceans once we both left Cairo. I will never forget the night we left Egypt – a night when our hearts broke. The McGrane’s helped to pick up the pieces through a meal, talking, and a blessing through a hymn and a prayer.

Yasmin and I have both had the experience of learning to live well in places where we don’t always feel we belong. Though years and continents apart, her adjustment back to New Zealand in her teen years parallels that of mine in America during my college years. Both of us alternate between feeling at home and alien in our passport countries. After high school in Cairo and New Zealand, Yasmin went on to cho0se medicine as a profession and has already used her skills in resource poor settings, largely because of her background. 

With this as our history, it was a gift to be a part of Yasmin’s wedding day. 

After a ceremony at a church, we went to an old barn that was beautifully decorated with lights, brass, and white linen. We ate curry and naan served out of large, brass dishes and danced until our legs ached.

Speeches were given by those closest to the couple, and one minute we teared up while the next minute we were laughing. Because that is what life is – the poignant and the hilarious, the sacred and the ordinary all mixed up in a speech. It was when Yasmin spoke that I knew she had truly found her partner in life. As she looked at Jonny with the eyes of a bride on her wedding day, she said this: “In you, my heart has found a home.”

“In you, my heart has found a home.”

For the third culture kid, global nomad, refugee or immigrant, home takes on a life of its own. We search for it, we get angry about it, we try to find answers that will satisfy the questions we inevitably get, and we write about it. We talk about going home, but when we get there we find that it is no longer the home that we knew, and we are disappointed once again. Home eludes us and place betrays us until we exhaust ourselves and others with our quest.

“In you, my heart has found a home.” Yasmin has known many homes. Swat Valley, Peshawar, different places throughout New Zealand – but her words echoed what I know in my soul, even as I try to pretend that this is not true: Homes are not places, they are the people, places, memories, and events that span the globe.

I said goodbye to Yasmin at the airport, honored that she wanted me to come with the family to see her off on her honeymoon. We waved goodbye from the terminal window, and my eyes were misty as she walked away with the man who has given her heart a home.

*****

I write this as I journey “home” from New Zealand. It has been a time of rest and warmth, and I am so grateful. I said goodbye to my friend Jenny outside security and felt the familiar choking in my throat as I said goodbye, both of us tearful.  I know that I will arrive in Boston and feel alien. Alien until I am greeted by the man who has made his home with me for the last 31 plus years – and in him, my heart will be at home.

   

    
 

9 thoughts on “When your Heart Finds a Home

  1. I’m a TCK who has found a home for my heart without a spouse. As a teenager, I thought if I could just meet my “soulmate” I would find my home, but that proved to be a heartbreaking illusion. I wish the message here were more inclusive of all the single people who have found a home for their hearts in the friends and family who love them, in all the cultures they’ve engaged with, in the work they throw their souls into, and in the memories they carry with them. If the teenage me were reading this post, I’d want her to know that home is not something you have to be married to enjoy – that it’s not found in one person alone just like it was never defined by one place alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jessica – thanks so much for commenting and bringing up this vital point. Because I was writing about a specific speech at a specific event, I focused on that statement. I completely agree with you on single people finding their heart has a home in people, work, memories and more. The words that I put in “Homes are not places, they are the people, places, memories, and events that span the globe” I believe encompass more broadly what I think. And then of course, there is the bigger conversation of our hearts finding their home in God himself. So thank you for weighing in and not just dismissing the topic. I appreciate it. BY the way, I last saw you when you were a little girl in Pakistan in Islamabad. Your mom was one of my dear friends in boarding school.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this, Marilyn! While I knew one home as a child, this feeling is so true for me as an adult who has known many homes and cried a lot of goodbye tears.I have a sign on my wall that reads, “It doesn’t matter where you are in life, it’s who you have beside you.” It’s helped redefine home for me, and I’m so grateful to have thiis safe place with my husband too!

    Like

    1. Love this Jody! I think one of the things I loved about what Yasmin said is that it is not over spiritualizing and is honest about our need for special people. I think those of us who have said so many goodbyes often push it down, spouting a “this world is not my home” mantra. But the reality is that God created us for community, for intimacy. And dismissing that instead of working it through is not helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

Add to the discussion...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s