Anywhere but Home

Hefner feet

You sat on that stone wall so many nights, your long legs swaying in time to the lapping of the lake below or knees drawn and arms wrapped tight to brace against cooler breezes.  That wall was your “thinking about life” place, your escape from a house filled with anger and tears, from a school ripped by conflict, from a past that had robbed your present of innocence. You discovered it one night when the idea of driving anywhere-but-home filled your heart with just the slightest spark of hope. It was close to midnight, and the abandoned road near the lake welcomed you to a sanctuary where you could fully breathe. The wall heard your dreams. The wall felt the splash of your tears. In that all-alone place, you felt just a little less alone.

You were only 16, but you felt so old. Most days, you wanted to walk away. Run away. Get in the car and drive away from the familiar – the familiar that silently branded you “worthless.” No one saw the word embossed on your heart. Your family would call you a fighter, a renegade, passionate to a fault. Your friends would say you did nothing in a small way, a lover of life. But you – you felt there was no way to fight against the wrong, no voice that could find the right words, no place to call home.

I caught a glimpse of you as I ran by that wall, the music in my ears keeping time to the rhythm of the pace. It was a high school reunion that brought me back to the city- the place that found itself in the rearview so many years ago. At that reunion and the reunions to follow, people said we looked the same, that things haven’t changed at all in the – what is it now – four decades?

Decades of searching for brand new and running into the same familiar, of following passion and stumbling and rising again. Decades of stories about falling from grace and embracing redemption, of success and failure and abundance and struggle and comfort and pain. Those years have been filled with love found and lost and found one more time, with journeys to faraway places just to hold the hand of a stranger, with tears of joy unspeakable and of finding meaning in the most mundane of days.

I want you to know those stories, sweet one. Because they’re yours.

How precious it would be to sit with you on that stone wall and feel the lake breeze that comforted us as we wept and wondered if things would ever change. I would tell you that they do. I would tell you that the house and the school and the past were all given to you – not as curses but as gifts – to fuel the heart of a warrior and a champion, and your sense of homelessness would lead you to find home in the hardest of places. We would look at the tattoo on your heart, and you would see the word “worthy” appear when the light illuminated it. And that word would be the start of so many more.  You would find the right words.

If I could, I would hug you and let the tears fall freely, knowing that they would someday become a reservoir of grace for those who felt condemned at the hands of others.  I would hold your hand so you could feel the healing power that exists in touch – a miracle of sorts you would be witness to time and time again on your journeys. And I would whisper, “Even now is a journey. Don’t waste it.”

Oh sweet one. If I could, I would tell you to breathe, to trust, to embrace 16 with the same intensity you will one day embrace 58. Your story need not wait on a city in a rearview mirror or “anywhere-but-home.” And I would whisper, “Write it now.”

“The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived – not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.” ~Elisabeth Elliot

This entry was posted in grace, life, Musings and Thoughts and tagged , , , , by Ronne Rock. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ronne Rock

LIFE. LOVE. LEADERSHIP. AND A LITTLE #KITCHENTHERAPY. Ronne Rock’s heart finds its strongest beat where beauty and pain collide – because hope always finds us in the shattered places. There’s more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience in her bones, and she finds great joy in sharing leadership wisdom as a regular contributor to Orange Leaders and QARA. But more often than not these days, she's with the vulnerable in difficult places around the world, gathering stories that change stories. Find Ronne's words in "For You, Love" the prayer journal that invites you to respond, and in Everbloom, a collection of stories from the Redbud Writers Guild. She is currently writing, "Building Eden: Principles of a Grace-Filled Leadership that Restores and Redeems."   Ronne is represented by Karen Neumair at Credo Communications.

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7 thoughts on “Anywhere but Home”

  1. Wow…you opened something up in me with this question and it’s haunted me for over an hour…I haven’t thought about the 16 yr old me in a long time…tears in my eyes, here goes…I was alone on my 16th birthday, my mothers boyfriend told me a month before I could not live with them, and she had to make a choice, your daughter or him..she chose him. A month later I sat alone, living in her home and she living in his over an hour away from me, I wasn’t on the streets or anything that bad, she supplied me a home but I wasn’t allowed to call her, she came home every two weeks for a day to pay the bills and give me money for food and gas, but being alone I felt so unwanted, I wondered what I had done that was so bad to deserve this…I would tell my 16 yr old self…your so worthy of being loved, it’s not you, it’s her…something in her is so wrong and broken. I can remember being ashamed of being in such a different situation as everyone around me and afraid of saying it aloud so I kept quiet and lived a lonely existence that only a few knew about…I would tell that young isolated child, she is a child of the King, not merely a child of this broken human woman and that some day you will realize your not so alone, your family through God is many and you will grow into a strong women with a strong belief and to dry those tears on your 16th birthday and don’t feel sorry for yourself and your situation and step into your life bravely, you are what you make of it…This is such a small part of it all but at 16 it was harsh year….the issues were there from a very early age and I can testify clearly that some people should not be parents, but here I am and I’m here for a reason and I’ve become everything my mother told me I was not able to be. She always told me growing up, no one would ever love me because I was so mean, she was wrong, a childrens hymn says it best and I sang it all the time to my children, Jesus Loves Me.

    1. Wow. Yes – step into your life bravely. I wonder how many others like us walked the hallways of our high school. I am thankful for a God who makes all things purposeful, makes all things new.

    2. Deborah – your reply really spoke to me. Being a single parent again, I try to make sure my kids are always in on the decisions I make and who I date. I need to make sure they always know they aren’t an option.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful. Thank you for sharing from the deeper places of your heart, the one that beats with conviction, honesty, and truth.

    I would tell myself, “If the words spoken to you belittle you in any way, they are lies. They are being spoken from a person who thinks little of their own self. Do not accept their baggage, walk on by. Use your words to edify, encourage and teach others, it will be worth it.”

  3. I would tell the younger me to hold on. Better things are ahead. There will be ups and downs, but the journey is worth it. Find the good and surround yourself with people that you want to be like. It will rub off on you. Love yourself no matter where you are.

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