all the way back where i belong

by melissakiefer

Oh, home. I’m here for awhile.

I will

Drink in the blue sky, the big sky. Take long walks. Four-wheeler rides and pickup truck drives. And sip hot soothing drinks. Write. Reconnect with family and friends who are family and my husband and God and my church. To feel worship again. Worship not measured by rules and what’s proper. No judgment, no competition of holiness. To think and not think. And sleep soundly again. Food. Take in all the nourishment that is food and not food– suck the marrow of This South.   

And holy is here. Unforced. The real and raw. I’ve almost, almost found it again. In conversations. In the mess. In water-eyes.  In the way nothing changes between soul-sister-friends. In a children’s book that taught me more than any other book I’ve read recently. A new song that made my heart sing a new song. In inspiration. Knowing I’m not numb. I still can feel.

Yes, I’ve returned to all my gritty-authentic-holy places.

In college, I would sit on Neu Chapel’s steps. When the questions came. Sometimes I’d even go inside in middle of day or middle of night because the chapel had no closing time. Hear echoes of Wesleyan hymns. Something ancient. Wood beams strong. Take naps on wooden pews.  And pray and write. And I would find. Solitude. Presence. And peace.

And Little Prairie’s parking lot…God is there too. Where I’ve always went when I didn’t know where to go. And where Josh always knew where to find me. After he’d given me space and time with just God. Prayers and fights. Stars. And gravel under the tires. Gravel that held my earth together. Touches and talks and tongue kisses that undid me.  But they were holy too somehow. Like coming home. Like the Lord proclaimed, “Here are your blessings, child. I’m right here. I never left.”  

I’ve missed, I love, I’m thankful for:

Country lullabies. The way my husband talks to his niece. My nephews. Getting to know my now all-grown-up little cousin and her dreams and tastes and favorite things. Sunshine and seventy degrees. The melody of little southernisms. My sister. The feeling I get in my gut when I know I must speak and have no choice. The way the sky looks huge because the land’s so flat. Our other two dogs, Duke and Dolly–they still know us, still love us. Manis and pedis and marker tattoos. Exploring Barnes and Noble. The weight of overflowing crates of books. Three hours at Coffee Cottage. Latin and Italian phrases. Porches and my Jovie.

Feels like I’m all the way back where I belong.