My pen hovered above the paper. Where is my home? I wrote, then paused, unsure of the answer.
I was about 11 years old when I first asked myself this question. Even though I have never moved between countries, I couldn’t place my finger on just one place that I could call “home.”
Where Is My Home?
I started listing places and people. The place I was living. The places my parents came from. The city. The countryside. The relatives I had in this country. The relatives in that country.
The more I thought about it, the more I saw that every place and every person was a part of what I wanted to call “home.” There were too many places, too many people. And I missed all of them.
Yes, there was one place I spent most of my time, but the rest played into it as well. Eleven-year-old me thought she was betraying the other places if she called one “home.” And calling several places home? That didn’t sound right.
I Have No Home
After realizing I didn’t have an easy answer to my question, I decided that must mean I didn’t have a home. And I cried about it, thinking I was the only one.
I once read someone describe TCKs as “a different kind of homeless” (Shelton, 2020). In the simplest form, someone who doesn’t have a home is homeless. To me, it felt like I didn’t have a home. To me, that made me homeless. Not a nice place to be.
When Do I Feel at Home?
At some point, I realized “home” didn’t necessarily mean a place. Perhaps, I thought, it could be a hobby, something I did.
A friend of mine trained as a professional figure skater. Whenever I go skating with her, I watch her on the ice. It’s always fascinating. She seems like she belongs there.
One day, I told her, “You seem more at home on the ice than on normal ground.”
She smiled and nodded. “Yes, I feel most at home when I’m skating.”
“What about you, Sarah?” one of my friends, who was skating with us, asked. “When do you feel most at home? When you’re reading? Writing?”
“Yes, probably those,” I replied, but, somehow, my answer never quite settled with me. It never seemed completely right.
I love reading, and I love writing. But feeling completely at home when doing those? Not really. Although perhaps not as badly as when I was eleven, I did still feel homeless.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
We’ve all heard it. We all know it, somewhere at the back of our brains. It was only recently, though, that the saying hit me. Home is where the heart is. The thought came out of nowhere, but it wouldn’t leave my mind. Perhaps, perhaps, I was not homeless after all.
It was only a moment, a lightbulb moment, and it took only a moment for me to understand. After years of feeling homeless, I understood.
I knew where my heart was. Therefore, I knew where my home was.
No Place on Earth to Call Home
Today, I no longer feel homeless. I still don’t associate “home” with a certain place on the map. My home is not bound to a place. It’s bound to a person. And that person is Jesus.
Even though I started out with seemingly no home, I ended up with something so much better than the name of a place.
No matter what happens to me in life, no matter where I go, or where I stay, my home cannot be taken away from me. Nothing can change it. Nothing can destroy it.
For my home is where my heart is.
“…they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13b ESV
Shelton, Kaleb A. 2020. “A Different Kind of Homeless.” Inkwell Literary Magazine. https://inkwellmagazine.com/a-different-kind/
TCKs for Christ: Writer & Email Manager
Sarah Susanna Rhomberg
is an MCK from Europe who is fluent in both English and German. She has cried many tears over the question of home, mother tongue, and identity, and wants to use these experiences to encourage others. Aside from writing, she loves reading, butterflies, and sunsets. Sarah wants to live her life for Christ and writes to glorify Him. You can connect with her at Truth & Hope.