No school. No job. No friends. It has been nearly two years since my sister Jill left for college, leaving me the only kid at home. I had gotten used to being on “my own” in a sense, even though I still had my parents. I didn’t do a lot with my friends, so much of my socializing was playing cards with my parents and grandma. Which isn’t extremely typical. I decided to move early to Provo to acclimatize myself before starting school. I was afraid, but felt good. As June 29th continued to approach, I felt there was still so much I wanted to do, people I wanted to see, and things I wanted to say. Yet time went on, and I was awake at unholy hours that Thursday morning. I drove for the first part of the journey. My thoughts were thankfully unable to wander. When we arrived at my apartment complex, my brother came over from his to help me haul my things to my room. I went to the door and knocked. Nothing. I knocked again. Holding my breath I opened the door and it was unlocked. I was dismayed. Was there seriously no one in the apartment? I unpacked a little and left a slightly passive aggressive note on the table before heading off to Salt Lake with my family. Taking the train to Salt Lake was an experience. There was lots and lots of waiting. Which meant lots and lots of thinking time. Which meant a woe is me mentality. We ended up only having lunch (which turned into dinner) in Salt Lake. By the time the Provo train station arrived, the last thing I wanted to do was go to my new apartment. Yet time went on, and I found myself knocking on my apartment door once more. I wasn’t excited. This time the door opened.
“Hi, I’m the new roommate.”
As soon as she stepped aside, my grandma shoved me in and started talking to my roommate. That’s where it all becomes a blur. It seemed as though everyone was home, and everything was happening (though that was far from true). Before I knew it, I hugged and kissed my mother goodbye. My brother left for his apartment and my mother and grandma left to spend the night in a neighboring city. I was alone. With three other people. Becky was really the one who saved me that first night. She just talked. About her family, about her college freshman dating life. I was unpacking and listening. I’m not sure that I experienced anything like it before, but it was what I needed. I was able to spend my first night in Provo, if not elated, comforted.
The next morning I woke up to my roommates’ 6:15 am alarm. The other two girls in my room worked together, ten hour shifts from 7 am to 6 pm. I was having a hard time sleeping, so I figured I might as well get up. I didn’t get much done that weekend. I didn’t really feel like it, and I didn’t feel the need to do more than unpack. So I didn’t. Yet time went on. The problem with letting yourself do nothing is that other forces tend to get in the way of the nothingness. The more time went on, the more lonely and out of place I felt. Something need to change, but the problem was nothing was staying the same. I was drowning in change.
The hope came on Sunday. My roommates and I went to church about twenty minutes before one. The service started at one o’clock, so we made it in plenty on time. Over the past couple of days, I had tried hard to attend all the different activities that were going on. As other students entered, I recognized quite a few of them. When one certain person walked into the room, I took a quick little breath. It was my friend’s older brother. He is a couple of years older than me and I don’t believe that we have actually met. He was incredibly popular during high school to the extent that we we’re still talking about him years after he had graduated. It was small. It was simple. Even still, it was something incredibly, undeniably familiar. And I held on. He ended up speaking later in the meeting. If there is one thing that boy can do, it is speak. Every word was a hug and a kiss from every person I loved and every person I missed. It was greetings from home.
I could have listened forever. Yet time went on, and I was home from church. Before I went to church that day, I was uninspired and sluggish. After, I was happy and energetic. I loved Provo. I started calling my apartment “home” and I loved the people I was around. Things are looking up.
I learned (or at least remembered) much that Sunday. The show must go on, because time will go on regardless of whether or not anything is happening. Performing is much more fun and satisfying. We can use what is familiar to inspire positive change. For me, all I needed to move forward was to realize that I haven’t lost myself forever. That came in the form of a familiar face and voice.
Will Rogers once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there”. The past gives you many supplies and tools on the great journey of life. Be sure to use those things to propel yourself to a better future. You are capable of the incredible and improbable. It is easy to forget. When you are feeling lost or suffocating in change, look for hug and a kiss from home. Be yourself, because you never know when you will be helping someone who is a little homesick.