I have come to know the true meaning of that phrase in the past 3 years, for that is how long we have lived in this part of England.
We moved here and were promptly plunged into a deep grief with the loss of our friend from our previous church. This came at the end of a long period of stress (although my parents don't believe there is such a thing but that is a blog for another day!) It had taken the best part of 6 months to pray and decide whether to move and then we had to say a long drawn out goodbye to our previous church, school and home.
Starting a new place with such a deep sadness doesn't make settling in easy. Neither did the 6 months of perpetual rain, the fact that everything was just so different or that we made some decisions that were too hasty! I struggled for 2 years to feel any warmth for my new home or church. Although last summer I had my eyes truly opened to the beauty of my county.
During this past year I have worked in a place that for the most part has been wonderful. I enjoy my job and have learnt so much. I have also felt more at home at church and have found some great friends.
Anyway, last weekend, we went away with our previous church. It was lovely, I thoroughly enjoyed being with old friends but during the weekend I realised that my heart is no longer there. I didn't feel part of that church family in the way that I once did. I love the people (they will always be friends) but I also discovered that there are now people in my new church and home that I love.
I realised that my heart is here. I still get frustrated with a lot of things but I don't want to go back to the familiar. Actually here is the familiar; God is showing us how to be and serve Him. I couldn't go back to living away from the seaside either (I am desperate to master body-boarding). I love that I discovered that if I cut my hair it would grow again. I am so proud I have become a runner and have entered a race. I have also learnt to drive (and hope soon to have passed my test!) Here is where I have learnt that you can be a working mum and a rift doesn't form in the space/time continuum! I have discovered that I can use the Internet in my learning about God and theology. I have made some wonderful new friends.
To use another phrase, made famous by Paul Young, 'Whereever I lay my hat, that's my home.'