August 19, 2016
Growing up in a small town in Maryland, I had a very clear definition of home and spent most days with friends I’d had since fifth grade. In the last three years, I have lived in four states and five cities. My closest friends live in seven different states, while I live in Memphis, Tennessee, and my family is in Maryland. All this has left me with a very ambiguous sense of home.
Each time I pack up everything I own to move, my heart breaks. It feels like life cannot get any better than it is where I’m at, and I question why I am moving again. I become nostalgic for the experiences, celebrations and even hardships I’ve had in the place I’m leaving, and I regret leaving the people who I’ve shared my life with. On my most recent move from Clemson, South Carolina, to Memphis, I cried the entire seven-hour drive. I was excited about my new adventure, but I was heartbroken to be leaving behind a piece of who I am and some of the most loyal friends I ever had.
One of the most comforting blessings in each place I’ve called home is always Kappa Delta. When I joined KD in 2010, I was surrounded by women who encouraged me, loved me and lifted me up when I needed a hand. Today, my Zeta Mu-Towson sisters are still that support system for me. Even though there is distance between us, I feel their support through a long phone call or a surprise package in the mail, and when we get to share laughter in person a couple times a year, I count my blessings a little extra those day.
When I moved to South Carolina for graduate school, Kappa Delta was once again where I found a group of women who acted as a stand-in family for me when mine was far away, including an internship supervisor to help me become a better professional and a supportive classmate when grad school was brutal. Most recently, I was confident in my decision to move to Memphis to work at Kappa Delta National Headquarters because I knew I would be surrounded by my sisters every day.
With each move, my nostalgia eventually settles. I’ve realized that the most genuine and meaningful friendships truly know no distance. I also learned it takes intentionality to continue to develop long-distance friendships – What time zone is she in again? Did I miss sending her a birthday card? When can we schedule a phone call to catch up?
The value of those friendships that have withstood the test of time and distance is remarkable. How lucky am I to have a friend in every time zone when I need someone to talk to? Or to have someone to meet me for dinner when I have a layover in Chicago, Dallas or Atlanta? My heart is at its fullest when I’m able to catch up with a friend and see nothing has changed beyond the miles that separate us.
In the words of Miriam Adeney, an anthropologist and author, “You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
I am incredibly lucky that with each phone call, letter and visit my heart grows even more full as I recognize that I am exactly where I am supposed to be with sisters and friends far and near who love me for me. So the next time you’re moving onto a new chapter of your life, remember that a new beginning does not have to mean the end of something else. Each week, remind yourself to send a text or call a sister you haven’t seen in a while, and you’ll recognize the value of our sisterhood. Let Kappa Delta ground you, wherever you find yourself.
Chapter Services Coordinator