This post is part of the Secret Messages Project. Every day for thirty days, I’ll leave my words in places where they might be found — or might never be found at all. I hope you’ll join me.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have a conflicted relationship with the town I currently call home — Roanoke, Virginia. It’s a pretty mountain town — a valley ringed with soft-shouldered blue hills; flame-orange in fall, pink-petaled in spring — but in spite of the beauty, I sometimes struggle to feel like I belong.
I’m learning, though, that happiness is a choice, and for the last four months I’ve worked hard to choose happiness over and over again, here in the Star City. In fact, I wrote a 40-day series about that exact subject — the photo of me, above, was taken on the final day of the project — and the journey made me love this place in ways I never thought I could.
So today I decided to try to express that love — to leave a little offering for this starry-eyed city, and to leave a secret message for a Special Someone, too. I’m confident he’ll read these words eventually and know they’re for him. But really, they’re not just for him, or me, or you. They’re for any of us who’ve ever struggled to find Home.
With all this on my mind, I drove downtown. Parked on the corner of Jefferson and Campbell and walked through streets flooded with copper-colored late-afternoon light. When I got to the Center in the Square building, I took the elevator up to the rooftop overlook. From there, I could see all of Roanoke strung out like a sparkly store-window display. The Taubman Museum looked like a toy model; the sun winked off train tracks and factory rooftops. In the background, mountains piled like soft purple clouds against the sky.
In that moment, it was easy to love the Star City.
I stood there for awhile, resting my elbows on the half-wall of the observation deck, until the last of the tourists filtered back down the elevator and I was sure I was alone. Then I pulled two bright yellow post-its from my bag and stuck them to the glass over the railing.
This is what they said:
And I’m not sure of much these days, but I know such a thing is possible.
I know happiness and belonging are always possible — for me and for you, too… Hope you go hunting for it today. ❤
Perhaps once I have read all the gratitude posts I will know why, but if not, what was it about the Star City that didn’t feel like home?
I was thinking, now, about whether I feel at home here yet, whether I felt at home before; what, in fact. does ‘feeling at home’ feel like?
After some reflection, I find that the only time I really feel at home, is when I am cocooned in our Combi, the wheels rolling, not in a rush, my eyes feasting on my country flashing by. My only roots, put down just briefly, are in the bare earth of some wild and wonderful patch of fauna and flora.
Yes, that is where I feel at home.
I love all the words you use to describe Home … Sounds beautiful to me! :). I am learning to love Roanoke, but the culture is different than what I am accustomed to, & I’ve struggled to build meaningful relationships with people who share my interests (I’m a person who really needs people in order to stay grounded and healthy and to generate creative ideas, so that’s hard for me). But, I am learning to stay open, be more generous with myself, ask questions when I face a cultural situation I don’t understand, and be willing to be surprised by the depth of what others have to offer — others I might have overlooked in a different environment. It’s an adventure — bewildering and wonderful all at the same time. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
I fortunately happen to be extremely introverted for starters, but unfortunately, I also have great difficulty with face-to-face interactions with humans. Online interaction, therefore, suits me very well, and satisfies my needs exactly – we are social beings after all, so some connection there must be. 🙂
It is therefore difficult for me to imagine really-needing in-the-flesh-people, but I can imagine how hard it must be to feel left out when you desperately need connection.
Whatever you do, though, stay true to yourSELF! Authenticity is the only way! 🙂
I didn’t get that until I read Brené Brown! But my guess is you do already know that! xx
LikeLiked by 1 person
For starters: I love introverts. In my experience, they make the most thoughtful, caring & loyal friends. And yes: I am working hard to stay true to myself, while still trying to stay open and stretch to meet others who are different. Wise words. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person