“Please Go Away Often:” On leaving to arrive home

IMG_2420A friend recently told me she knew a house was right for her when she noticed that, looking at the property from a satellite view, a heart appeared in the shapes of the streets and parks surrounding the building.

I’m thinking about this as I arrive home from a week away. My time in Oregon (and what I like to call “Portland number two”) was sweet and soul-nourishing, a chance to visit with dear friends and follow my own gumption. It also let me get acquainted with the achey-feeling of missing my family and life when it was 3,000 miles away. The distance allowed me to see the shape of my own heart in the place I call home.

Near where I grew up in  Massachusetts there is a travel agency with an iconic sign that reads, “Please Go Away Often.”  A perfect combination of rude, clever, and sales pitch, I always found the statement jarring.  But – at least right now – I’m hearing it differently.

Sometimes, getting away reminds us how and why we have chosen what we have, an opportunity not usually afforded in the logistics of managing a family, job, car payments, and laundry. Sometimes that space – for self-discovery, for differences great and small – is exactly what allows me to locate myself where I am.IMG_2557

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