When I was a kid, I used to dream about leaving home.
I grew up in Yakima, far out in East Valley, very close to Moxee city limits. I remember walking down the dirt road in front of our house, and in four minutes I’d be standing with my toes in the field, nothing in front of me but stretching, waving grass, sagebrush bushes, and rolling tumbleweeds.
(oh the tumbleweeds. so many tumbleweeds!)
We didn’t exactly live in the country, because we could see the neighbor’s houses from our kitchen window, but we were for sure not in the city. We didn’t have to lock our car doors at night, the yard wasn’t fenced in, and the windows stayed open almost all the time to let the cool, wild breeze blow through the house in the spring and fall.
As pretty and wild and open as home and life was as a kid, I longed for something more. I wanted the hustle and bustle of the city, “something to do” all the time, stores that were open before 7 am and after 10 at night, and people. BUSY people. LOTS of people. So many people, that if I decided to head to the grocery store on a Sunday morning in my pjs because I needed emergency eggs for breakfast, it didn’t matter if I had sleepy eyes and bedhead and slippers on my feet, because there was no way in the world I would see anyone I knew.
I wanted NOT Yakima, and so I planned to get it.
In 1995 I graduated from Davis High School (out of district for me, but the only place to participate in the IB program), and I applied to every out-of-state, out-of-city school I could. I wanted to go big and leave home, to find a place to call my own, and inject myself with as much experience as I could before I settled down and lived my life. I was accepted to a few places, but I ended up enrolling at University of Washington in Seattle. Seattle was perfect – huge and green and busy and chaotic and wet and rainy, very different from where I grew up on this side of the mountains.
I lived in Seattle for a lot of years. Sixteen, to be exact. But just as it tends to do, life threw some curves and crashes and cliffs and swings, and after some pretty significant emotional turmoil I found myself returning home. Life handed me divorce, brokenness, trauma, and drama, and I had to run.
I ran home.
I came back because I needed help (that I didn’t really find), I came back because I needed refuge (that turned out to be even harder to find than help), I came home because when you’re neck deep in chaos and you need to run, you run to what you know.
At the time of my return, I kind of felt like a loser. I worked so hard in school and life and work to stay away, it felt kind of shameful for me to come back. I felt like the prodigal son, the kid that left to party and revolt before crashing hard and returning home with head bowed, ashamed of his failure. I returned home feeling like THAT, like a failure, like I had left with such huge dreams and intentions, “how am I going to live with myself for being back HERE?”
Turns out, “how am I going to live with myself” was a completely unnecessary worry, because HERE is exactly where I was supposed to be.
Don’t get me wrong – carving out a life for myself after the chaos of divorce was not fun or easy. It was downright hard most of the time. Managing the collateral damage, being strong for those around me, being strong for my kids, all the while missing my friends and the home I made for myself on the other side of the mountains. Moving here was hard, probably the first true act of grown-up-ness I’ve ever taken.
But it was RIGHT.
Once I got settled, once the bruises and wounds from divorce and relocation started to wear off, I found my footing. I kind of woke up, looked around, and noticed that there were some familiar things I hadn’t seen in a really, really long time. My kids were enrolled at Terrace Heights Elementary. My daughter has the same third grade teacher I had when I was a kid, and all three kids are principaled by my sixth grade teacher. The kids that play on the playground with my sons are kids of old friends from middle school, and the neighbors that live down the street graduated from the same high school I did, a year or two before and after.
I’m working with my dad to fulfill his life long dream. I visit people in the community and businesses that have been around for as long as I can remember, and some of them are still the same as when I was a kid. People know my last name, “Laurvick, huh? I know some Laurvicks,” and although I always have to mostly-jokingly ask “Is it because of a good thing or bad thing,” I am proud to be a part of such a huge family with deep, far-reaching roots.
Mostly, I noticed when I woke up and looked around that Yakima is really not a bad place to be. It’s calm here, and not so big that you need two hours to run to the store “because traffic,” but big enough that if I go to the grocery store in my pjs with bed head, I will only maybe see someone I know. Even better, if I DO see someone I know and smile at them with sleep lines and drool marks on my face, they won’t even care one little bit. People here are a less yuppy, more real, salt-of-the-earth, “deal with what really matters” kind of people, the kind of people that will last much longer than most if zombies start running rampant. ….plus, I know of three shop owners in town that open carry their pistols while they work, and that is just purely awesome.
I will always be glad for the adventures I had when I left home and saw the world. I traveled across the US and abroad. I broke my inhibitions down and I am no longer afraid to try anything, or go anywhere. I have a sense of “can do” and a willingness to leave and see and try and take, and I am so glad I went away. It was good for me.
Turns out, it was even better for me to come back.
Acts 17:26 says “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.” Sometimes I feel like I’m tossed around by life, like I’ve left and come back and tried and failed, but then I remember.
God does not make mistakes, He has a plan, and I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. All the time.
Thank you to all of you that have so openly accepted me and my family and our business into your lives and hearts. We are so glad to be here, *I* am so glad to be here, and I hope to pay forward every day the kindness and welcome you have shown.
Blessings to all of you, and I pray that your hearts feel at home where you’re at. Home is a great place to be!