Out on the playground of my elementary school, there’s this big old tree that’s really a whole bunch of trees all smooshed up and growing together. The roots of the tree are tangled around each other, stretching out towards all corners of the grassy yard, like hands reaching for something more. I love that tree. I spent many a recess hiding between its multitude of trunks or balancing on the roots or sitting at its feet. That tree is beautiful, so rooted and firm in its existence.
Your twenties are a weird time. Everything you once knew to be true is somehow not quite right anymore. The axis of your life is just a bit too tilted all of a sudden. There’s so much uncertainty and questioning and rootlessness.
People like to say that young people are selfish. We are on some Grand Quest to Find Ourselves, they claim, concerned mainly with following the whims of our wanderlust and doing weird things to our hair and living in tiny houses.
But I don’t think that’s it. I don’t think we’re being selfish at all.
I think we’re all just looking for home again. We are trying to combat that rootlessness, that untethered feeling we’re all fighting. We left home, and worked so hard to do so, but now we’re a little lost. We’re looking for comfort and familiarity and love. We’re looking for home.
Through the affected haze of grandeur that my generation loves to hide under, we recognize one harsh reality: we can’t go back home. The home we once knew has changed too much, or we’ve changed too much, or we’ve both changed and not in the same way. We have so much fondness for our childhood homes, for our roots, but now at twenty two, we have to try to find home on our own.
And so we travel and dream and pray to God to make some sort of real connection in this over-connected world. We’re not on a quest to find ourselves; we’re on a journey to find a place to land.
I’ll be honest with you; it’s a pretty daunting journey. It’s hard to navigate the new and different and stressful to pick out the pieces that bring you closer to home. It’s a patchwork quilt of experiences and passions and missteps sewn together with hard, hard work.
For me, it’s gold glitter tape and homemade stickers. It’s driving (finally, finally driving) all alone and singing fearlessly. Or when my heart stops for just a second at the thought of holding a child’s hand through their final breath. Or those people who look at me and really see me and say “Where have you been my whole life?” Or discovering the music my dad listened to as a kid. That’s my home. I have found comfort in my quirks, familiarity in using my gifts, and love in unexpected friendships.
Every time I go back to my mom’s, I drive past that tree. It’s smaller now than in my memories, and looking barer each year, but it’s still there, roots tangled deep into the earth. More than anything, I want to turn my patchwork quilt into that tree. I want to be rooted, confident in who God created me to be.
Your twenties are a weird time and I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. Because when we finally do find it, home, oh how sweet it will be.