I know a number of people who are moving, actively planning to, or thinking about leaving this fine Queen City.
One is a friend who’s visit was short term, and we knew that all along. Others have been here a while, and want, or more accurately in one case, need out.
It’s hard for me, in some ways.
Charlotte is Home to me. Deep seatedly, in my soul, come good or bad, this is where I want to be. Something about this city, over all the others, even Seattle, my first crush, holds me here. I can not imagine moving back to where I grew up, or to any other city for long. From the first day I set foot in the Queen City, over four years ago, she has held my heart in her grasp.
It’s more then just the people, or the skyline, or the culture. It’s all of those things, and something else. This is where my bones belong.
I will travel, and I will love other peoples and cities and cultures. I will eagerly taste the wonders of the world and the life the brims upon it. But none of those places will be home, and at the end of each trip, I will come home to my Queen.
So it is with sad and heavy heart I watch people I have come to love and care for leave her. A part of me is greedy: I want all the people I love here, in my city, with me. Or at least nearby, not a multi-hour flight away.
One friend tells me no one else understands his need to get out of this city. I do understand. That’s how I felt in Lancaster. While Pennsylvania is beautiful and beloved to me, is it not where I want to be or need to be. I felt a deep, aching desire for years to leave, to go, anywhere, just as soon as we could find a way out. This need was so deep that it played part in the end of one of my most important relationships. So I understand his need to go, and as soon as possible, despite any loss he may endure.
When I had to go back, for the long eleven months after I found my Home here in Charlotte, I pined for my city. Aching hearted, I looked at pictures, studied what I could find about the city. Relentlessly played “Gone to Carolina” on my iPod. I needed to be here, and every moment that stood between me and being here was simply to be endured. Massage school, doctor appointments, wedding plans all became boxes that simply needed checked off so we could move here.
I hate to see my friends leaving. At least four people I care for deeply will likely be leaving within a year or so, some as soon as next week. I am going to miss their presence, their laughter, our shared drinks, jokes and joys.
I will go visit, of course, see their new homes and share in their new places. But it won’t be the same as the calls that currently go, “Where are you? What are you up to? Can I stop by?”
It breaks little pieces of my heart off to see them go, leaving me with a sense of sadness and a little lonliness. But this is my Home, not just the place I live, and I will not be going with them.
My hope for my friends though, is this: that they find their Homes.
I pray that they find a place that makes their souls sing, that when they wake each day they feel at peace with where they are on this green & blue dot. I want to read their messages of cool new places they’ve discovered, things they want to show me when I come to visit, and how delicious the fries are at this place down the street. I want to see how local matters matter to them.
I hope, deep in my heart, that if their souls call out to them to move on, that they do so. That they find the place they’re supposed to be moving towards and that it brings them much joy.
I will miss them, but I will come visit them in their new homes. And I hope to see in their eyes the shining joy of being at Home when I do.