Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Somewhere's A Miss

You know what I miss the most about Florida?

I bet I know what you think I miss.

The constant sunshine. Or the ocean. Disneyworld. The warm weather year-round. Wearing flip-flops all the time. The beach lifestyle. Being tan without trying. The salt air.

Nope. I miss my hometown. And my people. And my church.

I miss the feeling of not just expertly knowing my way around town, but the feeling of knowing the town. Knowing the history behind different buildings, knowing that that restaraunt was actually a Domino's before it was a Verizon. Or that the Rack Room Shoes used to be County Seat and before that it was The Gap. Knowing that the spot where the new high school auditorium is, was actually an orange grove when I was a kid. Knowing the man who actually built that auditorium - he's my friend's dad. Take this feeling of knowingness and multiply it by every street, sign, and building in town. That's what I miss. It's that feeling of belonging somewhere, of having a piece of a location that no one can ever ever take away from me because it's a part of the fabric of me. Just about every single street in Merritt Island, FL holds a memory for me. And I could draw you a map to get from one side of the island to the other with my eyes closed.

I miss my people. I miss walking into a room full of people who I know and love and share all kinds of memories with. I miss rehashing old crazy tales with my high school partners in crime. I miss being around my best friends that I've had since I was fifteen years old, and the old friends who I'd see around town sometimes, at random weddings, the beach, the mall or  El Tucan, the people I've known and went to church with since I was six or seven. I remember just in going to the mall in my hometown, you were sure to see at least one or two people you knew, no matter what. If you were Derek, you always saw ten people you knew. I miss that feeling of being safe and understood, of having the trust that even if they don't agree, these dear friends know right where you're coming from and who you are, and they value and respect you.

And I'll just be honest with you, I miss my old reputation.

I miss being casually confident in my creativity and ability to cook, because amongst old dear friends it isn't seen as show boating, it's just who I am and always have been. I miss the sewing nights my girls and I would have where we'd all cook together and then sew, and the late night talks over a glass of wine with my friend Julie. I miss seeing my bestie Kate and her two sweet babies, and going to the beach with fifteen other women and all our kids, and then spending the whole morning counting children to be sure no one has drowned or wandered too far down the shore. I miss the reunions when all the old friends that moved away were in town for a holiday and we'd all get together with our kids and catch up. Now I'm one of those out of towners. I miss double dates with awesome couples, many of whom Derek and I have known since we were in high school. And I miss being in my friend's homes. And parties. I miss throwing parties. Oh how I love to throw a good party. I miss always having a free babysitter in Derek's parents, and always being able to go on dates. I miss the family gatherings at his parent's house with all the out of town relatives throughout the year.

I miss my church. I miss the praise and worship team, and all the creative outreach events they would put on. I miss how simple they kept it, to reach more people. I miss Trunk or Treat and the Bible studies I took on Thursday mornings, the mom friends I made at the MOPS group on Tuesday mornings. I miss the preschool all three of my children went to, and all the amazing friendships that came out of that. I really miss seeing my friends in the commons after church got out on Saturday nights, and sitting with people during church. But I mostly miss my pastor, Mark Balmer. I went to that church for seven years, and really came to love and trust him. I would email him when I didn't understand something or to tell him when something great had happened in my life as a result of one of his sermons. In a church of six or seven thousand people, he always wrote me back. I even sent him poems I had written about different subject matter he was teaching on, and he always liked them and encouraged me to keep writing. I never really knew him that well because our church was so huge, but I never felt neglected. I always felt pastored and cared for. I miss his wisdom, his faith and practical sense. I have a lot of respect for him. So many times I would walk into church completely confused, anxious or even depressed, and the light and encouragement, and the Holy Spirit's use of the compelling grace Pastor Mark packed his sermons full of would have their way in my heart and mind and I would leave buoyant once again, filled and inspired to live out another week.

I love being in Tulsa. I prayed for ten years to move here, and it really was a desire of my heart. I had unfinished business here from my college days, which I will write about another time, and when Derek suddenly wanted to move here too and was able to find a great job and everything else just completely fell into place, it was wonderful. Like being handed a dream on a silver platter. Like being taken seriously by my Heavenly Father, something He's great at. It was the fulfillment of what I had written off as a silly hope. So I am excited to be here, starting over, with plans to raise our kids in the midwest and to fully thrive where we feel that we are meant to be.

I'm just homesick lately. And writing about it helps.

The transplanting is going a bit harder than I thought it would. I still feel a foreigner after being here for almost a year, and find that I get my feelings hurt by new acquaintances and even perfect strangers for small, perceived, and I'm sure, unintentional slights. I am kind of shy, so it's harder for me to just throw myself out there and be friendly.

I promise I'm not ungrateful. I feel so blessed. I'm so happy to be right where I am. Tulsa is a really special place. A place that will surely become home in my heart someday. 

I just miss the old home that has always had dibs on my heart. That's all.


  1. You have no idea how much I can relate! I'm glad you are here and I hear your heart :)

  2. Oh. Em. Gee. I moved here from Winter Springs four years ago next week. I spent nearly 20 years wanting to come back to Tulsa after college. Eleven of those years were in Florida. I love Tulsa, but leaving friends was brutal.

    Thanks so much for coming tonight! I look forward to seeing you again next week. :) I hope you've found a niche with us.