Today’s meditation was about letting things go – places, things and people. The latter is the hardest. The former has given me a lot to think about lately.
This pandemic has made me homesick in a way I haven’t experienced before. Deeply confusing, perhaps sometimes misplaced, nostalgia. For some sense of comfort I vaguely remember, but never necessarily had. When before going back to my small suburban hometown made me feel claustrophobic, now thinking about it brings me calm. A world well known. Navigable. Predictable. After a number of moves, three different cities, and two different countries, home is where people speak my language, where I know how to order a coffee, where everyone around me wears a mask without me having to ask, or apologize. Home is where I am understood. Where I belong.
Belonging is never guaranteed of course. While I dream of moving back, I know things have changed in the area I haven’t lived in for over 20 years. I’d need to re-integrate. Make new friends. Learn to cope again with traffic and cars and shoveling snow. Just like here, I would still get cold. Still get crabby. Still perhaps think the grass was greener somewhere else.
But today, I can’t let go of that dream. As my friends and family all get vaccinated, The Netherlands remains closed, curfewed and exposed. No end in sight, no endless barrage of social media pictures proudly displaying vaccination cards. Instead, here, we wait. We brace ourselves. We ho and we hum. We drink coffee and we eat cake. We tell each other “but there is sun, at least”. “There are flowers blooming.” There will be something better, some day. Have faith.
And I do have faith. I know life changes, countries change, this pandemic changes. But still, I think of my home, and the mall close by, the one my dad used to joke was my “North Star”, the location I drove to in order to navigate anywhere else. This mall has become a mass vaccination center. The place I went for soggy salad wraps and my first pair of fake red leather pants is now giving people promise and hope. Saving them from a global disease. And I keep thinking to myself, home isn’t so bad.