Can we ever truly return home? Thanks for visiting my blog today where college student Ali Renckens reflects on what it means to come home.

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They say “home is where the heart is,” but what does that really mean? I divide most of my time between college and where I grew up, which is around 900 miles away from where I go to school. When I’m at school, I miss my family—usually calling them a couple times a week and texting constantly. Then again, homecoming isn’t like a parade across the football field wearing a sparkly crown and holding a bouquet of red roses; it’s more like precariously walking a tightrope, attempting to balance the freedom I have at school with that fact that I’m back in the room I’ve had since I was eight. And no matter where I am, I spend a lot of time planning where to go next. For instance, right now, I’m considering summer internships in three different states.

Each one of these places has my heart somehow; I love my family, I love my friends, I love school, and I love my work. It would be so simple if I could just click my heels and magically be transported to one place where everyone and everything I care about exists in perfect harmony. Instead, I’m sprinting down yellow brick roads, hoping they’ll carry me to my dreams.

Saying that I don’t know where home is sounds heartbreakingly desolate. But I don’t think it is. It’s only sad if there’s nowhere to go or no one to be with. There’s something wonderful – scary and beautiful and bewildering – about facing a world full of open doors, hearts willing to welcome you in, and suitcases ready to travel to every corner of the globe.

Maybe that’s the idea. Maybe home doesn’t have to be one, single place. Maybe a key aspect of maturity is the conscious decision to find joy in any situation, love for our new neighbors, and beauty in our foreign surroundings, so that wherever we are, we can sincerely and confidently say, “There’s no place like home.”

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