To The Strangers Who Feel Like Home,

What exactly is home? I think it has different meanings for everyone. For some people, it is a safe place, a place filled with happy memories and old traditions. For others, it is not so much a stationary place, but more so wherever the people and things their heart loves are.

But what happens if no place, no thing, no one.... feels like home? How do you fill the aching homesickness in your heart for something that does not seem to exist in your world.

For the longest time I have been filled with homesickness and yet there has been no place, person, or thing I felt I could call home. I think the painful longing in your heart of homesickness begins to hurt to such an unfathomable degree when one realizes that there is no cure. That they have no home. That they are more or less... homeless. Perhaps not in materialistic ways, but in all the ways that actually make one feel whole inside.

So in a desperate attempt to fill the gaping hole in my heart, I dipped my toes into just about anything I could find that might potentially be my home. I poured my heart and soul into everything I could and at the end of the day I still felt empty, and cold, and homesick. I eventually gave into the hissing lies of my demons and started a long deadly dance with addiction. I lost parts of me to my addiction that I will never get back, all in hopes that somehow giving away myself would be met with fulfillment, love, and a home.

I learned many things that were not the cure to homesickness. But I still was searching and longing for anything to call home. And then the oddest thing happened. The most random occurrence of the most beautiful people appeared in my life.

It is hard to describe, the way that some people just bring a whole new light, a whole new meaning to your life. One day I was aching with homesickness, and here I am three weeks later feeling more whole than I have in well, maybe, maybe the first time in my life.

It all started with a boy. A boy who made me feel. He made me feel welcomed, and loved, and worthy. And because of the way he made me feel I started to think that perhaps I am someone worth having around after all. A boy who introduced me to his friends- strangers to me at the time. People who were under no obligation to welcome me into their family. But they did. And they did with the most comforting love I have ever felt. It happened slowly at first, little by little, the gaping hole in my heart started to shut. The coldness that shuttered throughout my body began to warm. The aching homesickness started to disappear. The strangers, my strangers- they started to feel like home.

It is hard to put into words a description that accurately depicts the beauty of this group of individuals.

It is the little things. The way they welcome me into their house with open arms. Well sometimes open arms, and sometimes welcoming me goes a little like “oh so you think you live here now huh?” It is the way they pick on me, the way family picks on you. The way they invite me to their gigs, their weird, Wednesday night traditions and their weekday lifestyles. It is the guitar lessons late at night with them telling me to practice “just five more minutes” when my fingers are numb and the sounds coming from the guitar are less than desirable. And yet they sit by my side and listen and encourage me. It is the way they collectively work on my take home math quizzes. The late nights spent in the recording studio where I can be found sitting on the floor stumped by an essay, and yet I am not sitting there alone, but instead with the help of a brother-like figure motivating me. It is the high fives after every little success. The way that when I am filled to the brim with anxiety or drowning in a wave of depression, they invite me over in a heartbeat. The way that some days when my anorexia is screaming louder than ever before, they pour me a bowl of cereal and sit by my side as I eat it. The way that when I accomplish something that seems so silly such as eating, it is met with a hug. It is when they know I am in a bad place mentally; they keep me there overnight. The way that` when I am frustrated they let me hit things (sometimes the things being them), and they give me pep talks to bring me out of my funks. The way they barricade the doors and arm themselves with samurai swords and knives when the town of Muncie is being threatened with a clown apocalypse. It is the memories they openly share and create with me. The late night talks. The spontaneous adventures. It is the belly aching laughter. The unconditional support, love, and faith in me. It is the way these strangers make me feel. The way they took me in as one of them. The way they made me feel whole. So here’s to the strangers, the strangers who feel like home.

As Dr. Seuss would say, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” But you all care a whole awful lot, for reasons that are beyond me, but nonetheless, because of you things are getting better, they really are.

Now most of them will probably never read this, and even if they do they will never be able to realize just how much they have positively impacted my life. They will never realize the way they changed my whole perspective on life, and restored hope to a very hopeless soul. The way they took my brokenness and one by one put the pieces back together. So maybe it will not last forever. So maybe it is a temporary home. But the gifts they have given me, will never expire. And my gratefulness for them will never waiver. They have taught me that I am not homeless, I am not unwanted, I am not unlovable. But instead, I am significant. I am lovable, and I am HOME.

To those who feel lost and alone, to those who feel homesickness to that unbearable degree; let me leave you with this. Not all those who wander are lost. Perhaps you just have not found your home yet. But it is out there, do not give up. You do belong, you do matter, you are loved, and you are worthy, and soon dear one, soon you too will be home.