The bags are unpacked, the drawers are filled, toys are scattered and familiar food is in the cupboards.
‘Home’, for the next couple of months at least, is a city centre flat in Leeds thanks to the generosity of amazing friends. Friends that don’t actually live here, and so we are on our own. In a sort of home. We’ve been calling every place we’ve been staying in ‘home’ to Rufus and Billy, but maybe this rings the most true as it’s us in a place of our own. For the moment.
A moment that almost feels like a deja vu as we return to city living similar to our previous London life, and yet slip back into the Leeds streets that I knew so well as a student, and then a teacher, and that Jonathan knew as he grew up.
The move to the flat has been on the horizon for a month or so, and we’ve been looking forward to it – anticipating a slight sigh of relief as we’re able to make a semblance of home. It’s not that home hasn’t happened all this time, but it’s different when you’re not in other peoples’ space and routines.
And it’s good. Our mess, our noise and our space. And the suitcases are no longer piled up in the bedroom, although have only made it as far as being the obstruction when you walk in the flat door.
But while it’s settling to know we’ll be here for a little while, it’s also unsettling because it’s not our home. And, in a strange way, it makes us long for our ‘Merica home’ (as Rufus calls it) all the more. It’s an uncomfortable longing when we don’t know whether we’ll make it back.
And yet, what a blessing. We’re so thankful for a place that’s ‘home-ish’; for all the people who have opened up their homes to us over the last couple of months; for people continuing to pray for us as we navigate all of this; for the boys and the way they make us giggle; for times with friends here, there and everywhere as we make the most of not being a flight away; for God holding tightly onto us.