California never felt like home because we never intended to stay for long. We didn't allow ourselves to fall too much in love with the idea of living there. Arizona had been our long-term destination since the very first flight we took heading east in 1999. We were so close to this desired location of 'home' we kept our sights on the desert and waited to return 'home', even though it didn't feel like home when we would visit.
Once we got here and moved into a new-to-us town we quickly realized it didn't seem like any kind of home to us. All the things we left behind on our trail of personal journey were so different than this place. We missed them all terribly. And although we have a lot of loved ones here we are glad to see more often these days, they are not our home. We are our home.
The feeling of home is never the walls we are inside of. It is not the grass I stand on as I water our garden. It is not even the kitchen table that usually has an empty chair. Home is when we are all together. The dirt or flooring under our feet doesn't matter, the words labeling which state lines we stand in is not home.
All of us in the car is home. All of us sitting in a pew together on Sundays is home. All of us sitting in the livingroom together watching Harry Potter on a lazy Saturday afternoon is home. Chasing the kids together at the park is home. All of us getting Bahama Buck's is home. Home is all of our seats filled at the dinner table. Home is all of us being together no matter where we are or what walls or sky surround us. It's a great feeling to define it. It's too bad I didn't realized this several years ago.
Moses had the children of Israel carry with them the Tabernacle (a large, portable temple) as they wandered in the wilderness. It could be taken apart and then put back together as they traveled. No matter where they set it up, it was the same temple with the same sacred ordinances occuring and the same level of importance it had in its prior place. I imagine the spirit and peace felt in those portable walls didn't change from place to place. That's the way I feel about home for our family. No matter where we live, us just being together where ever we are is the same kind of purity found in the traveling temple. We have learned to set up shop in a lot of different places and created our home together where ever we have landed.
We plan to be in Arizona for a long time, maybe even forever. There is always a chance, however, that things could change with Mike's job situation and the right opportunity for our family one day could bring us to yet another place. And it would be alright.