Two weeks ago, my roommates and I spent the weekend exploring Florence and Cinque Terre. We took the train back to Rome late Sunday night and made our way from the train to the bus stop. As we dragged our exhausted bodies out of the train station, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort as I stepped foot in Rome.
I simply felt home.
I can’t explain it. It was the first time I have truly felt home in this city since I got here four weeks ago with Veritas Christian Study Abroad.
Just as Carmel, Indiana served as my home for so long. Just as camp became a place of solace summer after summer. Just as my heart grew to love Wheaton, a place of comfort and refuge. And now, Rome.
My little Ikea (and I literally mean only Ikea) furnished apartment. My three roommates full of love, laughter, and adventure. My favorite look-out spot atop the wall overlooking the Roman Forum. My darling little pastry shop just around the corner. My favorite gelateria—wait, who am I kidding, I have yet to taste gelato my tastebuds would say no to! The garden down the block where I find refuge and solitude. The family-owned fruit stand with the freshest watermelon down the block. It’s all mine, and I can finally call it home, not only by address, but in my heart.
And my heart is so glad to be here.
Transitioning to life here has absolutely been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. While I am still learning, I am learning in a place I can call my home—which feels a lot better than trying to learn in a strange country.
And yes, I am still making a lot of mistakes. For instance, when I tried to take my roommates to a cool spot I’d heard about in Florence, I actually ended up getting us lost for at least two hours. How about the time I tried to purchase a monthly bus pass one day too late? It happened.
Now I am making more memories than mistakes.
In Florence, I befriended a leather vendor, and also got really cheap leather bags, of course. I never thought I’d make it, but I will never forget the breathtaking hike along the coast of Italy. I didn’t understand a word of the sermon in the completely Italian church service, but I do remember how the Lord answered so many of my prayers.
I am learning so much about what makes a place a home. It’s the little things, but mostly it’s Jesus. It is the daily comfort I am able to find in God. It is the way Christ has chosen to love me.
I am home because Christ has called me here.
I am home because God is here with me. As I experience the comfort and joy that comes with my heart coming to know this place as home, I cannot imagine the immense joy that will come when I am finally, truly home, with Jesus for eternity.
I am still trying to figure out how to put everything I am experiencing here into words. Key word: trying.
But know that the Lord is at work here in Rome, and in my heart. He is teaching me so much and showing me his kingdom and family that I have never seen before. God is so, so faithful in bringing my heart home.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”
Jordan Bear is a Business Economics major at Wheaton College in Illinois. This semester, she’s studying abroad and serving through international missions in the historic, cultural, beautiful Rome, Italy.
Where is God calling you? Maybe “out of your comfort zone” is just outside your door or maybe it’s across the Atlantic Ocean. Wherever it is, find home in the will of God.