This past week, I went to Selma, Alabama for New Way’s Nonviolence and Conflict Reconciliation Training. It was absolutely amazing, and so transformative. We learned about the six principles of nonviolence used by Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement, and I met some of the most incredibly genuine people in my entire life.
While so many things resonated with me over the course of the week, two things really stuck with me.
One of the volunteers in the middle of the week gave me a card. It read, “Home: family, shelter, dwelling place. I know you feel at home here, and it is not because of the place.” And that card could not be more accurate. I felt so completely at home in Selma, but I know it has nothing to do with the place itself. It was the feeling.
The second thing that resonated with me was in talking to a friend of mine in Selma, and she was talking about the “twentysomething” GroupMe that they all had. My ears perked up…I was like, “Hey! I have a blog about that!” But then she told me that they used to call themselves “The Twentysomethings,” but now they call themselves, “The Builders.” The builders of the next generation. The builders of a movement. And I absolutely love that. We are no longer youths, but we aren’t yet the elders. We are the next generation. We are the builders.
And naturally, I started thinking about how those two things are so correlated. So many of us are still looking for “home.” I know I am. And yet, we are still so young, which is so easy to forget, but we have the ability to build our future, to build our next step.
How are you building yours?
For me, I can think of three things.
- In home, there is family. And there are so many different types of ways to define this. I immediately think of my nuclear blood family, but over the past seven years since I graduated high school (ew omg I can’t believe it’s been that long)…I’ve come to understand family in a more expansive view. It is your blood family, but it’s also your friends, it’s the people that’ll stay up with you until 4am when you’re struggling through something, or those who will make you laugh so hard that you start to cry. That is family.
- I’ve learned something about myself over the past two years: if I’m not able to find a community around me, then I won’t be able to call that place home. Community is the night and weekend time. It’s the group outside of work. It’s the activities you are involved with. It’s fun, and it’s comforting, and it’s important.
- And perhaps the most important thing of all…love. Unconditional love. Home is where there is no question of the love that is shared. It’s giving, it’s taking, it’s 100% reciprocal. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that this also includes self-love. If I’m not okay with who I am, I’m not able to love others. And nothing will feel like home if inside, I don’t feel like myself. To feel home is to feel love for yourself, to love, and be loved.
So, how are you building your home?