I just scheduled a hair cut. It took me a little while, but it needed to happen. We’ve been in our new home for just under two weeks, it’s summertime, I need a hair cut. I’ve been keeping my eye out for hair cutters in our new neighborhood. I looked up area hair stylists on Yelp and the White Pages. And then I decided to do it the old-fashioned way–I grabbed a little notebook, put on my shoes, wrote my napping sweetie & kiddo a note, and went for a walk. I felt kind of like my inner kid’s image of Harriet-the-Spy, standing out on the sidewalk on a Monday evening writing down the names of places. There seem to be more than a dozen hair salons within a mile of our new home. It was good to just walk around and see what’s going on, what the various places look like, and enjoy the breeze in the evening air. And after coming home and making a phone call, someone named Colleen is going to cut my hair, this Friday. “Colleen?,” I said to the appointment scheduler, wanting to make sure I got her name right. “Colleen.” Okay. Cool! And with just that scheduled, I feel a teeny bit more at home.
This is how I make home. It takes time, but filling out my personal list of services, of who’s-who in my local community, of who I call upon when I need this or that, of where to find this or that special thing–I have learned that this is how I come to feel at home in a place. It’s a process of learning how I will take care of myself, in every way, here in this new town. It’s a process of coming to know a place through all the daily conversations with shopkeepers and neighbors, librarians and grocery store clerks. I have come to recognize how meaningful it is, at least for me, to “nest” in a new home through all the connections with people specific to a place and a local community.
As I and we are in the process of home making, it is impossible to ignore the violence going on around the world. Other people’s homes are being destroyed even as we unpack in our’s. Other people’s children are being wounded and killed even as we take our’s for a bike ride and make her a special birthday cake. I am, of course, grateful for the joy we can bring to our kid’s life, and…I am heartbroken by the pain that other parents on our common planet must be going through. I don’t know what to say or do about it today, but my heart is heavy and my soul is stirring, steaming, stewing. No matter where or how we make our homes, we can not shield ourselves or our children forever from the agony of other families’ pain. Someday, our precocious 2-year-old will ask “why?” about human violence, and I will need to figure out what to say.