“He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.”  -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

There are some 25 million people in transit as I write this; on their way home to someone. It is one of the busiest travel days of the year: millions of people spending millions of dollars to be close to others that they love, that have shaped their lives, that taught them something about relatives.

I remember many years when the idea of going home was a painful and lonely experience. Even now, my family reunions are few and far between, not just for the physical distance, but even more for all the sadness carried forward from the past.  Making a home, a place that I belonged to and that belonged to me was always the biggest dream for me.

Tonight, all my kids are home again and the grown-up dynamics of our full house make me smile deeply. I have loved these people for such a long time, that loving them has made me who I am. The most tender moments of my life have almost always been in coming home.

Coming close to devastating loss as I did with my son this fall, makes this time together even more tender. The truth is that our lives are, as Rilke says – a testament to the perpetual departure that defines us. This is the golden kernel to hang onto in going back to family. As challenging as revisited family dynamics can be,  remember that gratitude is one way to access memories of the heart – and to make them, too.

The best and most worthwhile coming home of all is to oneself. This coming home happens when you realize that what means the most to us is the front door. The tested values, the ones that you are willing to sacrifice for, are a clear path home.