As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us refer to “going home” for this holiday and for several others, including Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, and others. This past weekend I had occasion to return to my last home in Denver, one where I resided for over thirty years.
While I initially didn’t consider my trip to be one of going home, as the days passed and I interacted with many of the people whom I value most, it came to me that this was truly a form of homecoming. This came as a huge surprise to me, primarily because I’ve always thought of Chicago as my home, one that represents my birth, early years, education, and many landmark events.
All of the events from this past weekend were reminiscent of going home. The people with whom I spent time this weekend welcomed me with warmth and genuine hospitality. If I compare that to going home to Chicago, I can think of only one person who would welcome me with enthusiasm and love.
And so, I’m thinking that it may be time to redefine my definition of home and going home. Is it possible to have two places to which you are going home? There are clearly no rules and I can consider both Denver and Chicago my homes, particularly because I spent more years in Denver than my birthplace.
Thinking about this holiday, maybe the home to which many people are going consists entirely of the people who are there, much more than the events or locations of our lives. It’s not a case of disloyalty – I’m not being disloyal to Chicago by considering Denver my home – if it mattered to anyone but me, I’m not at all certain whom that would be.
But home is all about the people who are waiting for us to return there. I am certain that if we were to go to Denver for Thanksgiving, there would be a variety of locations that would be meaningful. In the case of Chicago, there are much fewer options. And so I am willing to have two homes and recommend that those who seek the feeling of returning home do so on the basis of those who reside there. Wherever you go and whomever you see, do it with love and gratitude for the blessings of family and cherished friends. Enjoy Thanksgiving as a means to give thanks for the ability to enjoy treasured relationships. Shalom.