is the grass always greener…

…on the other side of the ocean?

The Smoky Mountains: my computer backdrop when I moved to Germany.

The Smoky Mountains: my computer backdrop when I moved to Germany.

The Black Forest near Wittlingen, Germany: my desktop background after moving back to the States.

The Black Forest near Wittlingen, Germany: my desktop background after moving back to the States.

When in Germany, I wanted a constant visual reminder of my beautiful Tennessee home. Now, back in Tennessee, I want to look at my computer every day and see Wittlingen, my other home. Am I always longing to be where I am not? Do I constantly wish for something I do not have?

Unfortunately, the answer to both of those questions is often “yes.” In this case, however, I think I’ve come to a good plateau of appreciating both places. I love both. Part of my heart is still in Europe, I confess it. But a large part of my heart is here – I might say a larger part. And that is how it should be. I’m invested here, and my roots grow a little deeper every day. Perhaps God will gently tug someday, unearthing those roots again to set them down in different soil. I can’t predict that, and I feel neutral about whether this remains “home” for the next two years or twenty-five.

But I do love this place. It’s beautiful here. And there are some happy similarities between the wooded Tennessee hills and the Black Forest of Germany.


3 Responses

  1. I think that I can understand what you mean about being pulled in opposite directions. That is how I felt growing up between California and Tennessee. We would take trips to visit family here and I would not want to leave to go home because I had no extended family there. This pull was something that always made me wonder where I belonged. It is part of the reason for finally moving here. I needed to figure out where I ultimately wanted to be.

    When you were describing the two backdrops on your computer, I realized that mine has always been (and continues to be) the ocean. I think about the water almost like an old friend that I need to catch up with as much as possible. I guess as a child and young adult it served as a “Secret Garden” of sorts. I would often go to the beach to figure things out and day dream. It was where many of my happiest memories of my childhood took place. Even now when I spend time near the ocean waves, I come away feeling nurtured and renewed. I think that no matter how long I am away, it will always be home to me.

  2. so, if I just look at your pictures and don’t read the captions, it might be hard to tell which is which. I miss living so close to forests. I love Indiana- don’t get me wrong. I think it is beautiful, too, but I can’t walk out my door and into the woods. I liked those woods, too. I’d trade a few (hundred) corn fields for wide paths and tall trees with neatly stacked walls of firewood every few-hundred feet.

  3. Pamela, yes, that question of “Where is home?” is one that I think many people experience, and usually earlier in life than I have. Maybe because I lived in the same place for so long, and then moved away for two years, and came back… the feeling blindsided me because I had never experienced anything like it before. I was like, “Oh, so this is what people talk about!” Homesickness seems normal, but it’s just weird when you feel homesick in either of two places. You’re always missing something about the other place. But I like to think it means our hearts have been made larger through the wider experiences…at least, that helps. 🙂

    Also, I feel similarly about the ocean although I’ve never lived close enough to go regularly. (Lucky! 😉 ) If I did, the beach would be my first choice of places to go to ponder life and make decisions. Everything about it is very calming and refreshing to me. Aaah. Thinking about it too much makes me want to go!

    Janet, oh man, I miss the tall trees and the numerous piles of firewood, too. And the white signs with the colored diamonds to tell us we were on the right trails. 🙂 I miss the trails…

    Okay, enough of me pining for distant beautiful places. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

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