Shivers run down my spine and tiny hairs stand on end as I watch the long-awaited homecoming of Laura Ling and Euna Lee. What an incredibly moving moment, a reminder that diplomacy isn’t just a bunch of cranky old men sitting around, talking in circles, drinking cocktails and wasting our tax dollars. Diplomacy actually works. Conflicts can be resolved. Happy endings are indeed possible, even when dealing with what appears to be an impossible situation.
Or maybe it’s just the sweeping star power of Mr. Bill Clinton... in some parts of the world, this former president still reigns supreme.
Whatever the case, it was an absolutely amazing thing to watch these two previously condemned women return home, freed from their nightmare, and fall gratefully into the awaiting, loving arms of their families. I have no doubt that all of us following this case breathed a collective sigh of relief when we heard the news, and when we witnessed such an unbelievable homecoming earlier today.
As I watched, I began to think more about the concept of home, particularly at this time when I find myself without one. The idea of "home" certainly means something different to everyone – for some it’s a physical place, for others a spiritual connection to self and spirit – but I think the common thread for all is that home is a place that feels safe. Home is a place in which one can feel secure, comfortable, at ease and utterly themselves. Home is where one can be exactly who they are and who they want to be, with no pretense or falsification. Home is family, roots, connection.
For Laura Ling and Euna Lee, I imagine that today, home represents all of the above... and also freedom.
I am reminded by the plight of these two amazing women how completely free I am, and how very precious that is. No, I don’t have a physical home, but I have never had more freedom than I do right now, in this moment. Freedom to decide where I go, what I do, how I live my life, the path that I carve out for myself. I answer to no one, I am bound by no chains, and I am responsible for not a single soul other than myself. This is an incredibly overwhelming yet powerful realization, and a truth that I am reminded of on days such as today.
Thus, although the decisions I have made recently leave me feeling frightened and unsure, I am also grateful. Grateful to be free, and grateful to feel safe and secure in myself, even though I lack a physical sense of home.
At least, I am trying really hard to feel that way...