We were 1,000 miles away in the Chicago suburbs the first year I couldn’t get home to Colorado. I was 37 years old. My daughters were in elementary school, and my husband’s job as a pastor required us stay for the holidays and invest in the church services. In a sense, it was what we needed to carve out time for our family of 5 to intensify our bond and create new memories of our own.
There was snow on the ground, new friendships grown by togetherness in community, and special gifts that year — including rescuing a chocolate lab from a Chicago shelter — which only happened because we were far from Home.
Our definition of home expanded, and we connected with other couples in our church Small Group who also were far from home. Friends hailing from Zambia, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, whose Homes were even farther than Colorado. We called our families on Christmas Day, and later went to a movie as a family of 5. We gathered with our friends, and toasted to gratitude for all God had done.

There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross. – Michael Ondaatje