Last night I stepped onto a stage in San Mateo and sang a song. I had been invited to perform, along with an award-winning entrepreneur, activist and spoken word artist named Regina Evans and a local dance team called Free2Worship, at an event to raise awareness of human trafficking in the San Francisco Bay Area sponsored by an organization called Before Our Very Eyesin partnership with the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition.

My dear friend, filmmaker and pastor Anthony ‘Tony’ J. Gapastione, had asked me to write a song to be recorded by Loretta Devine and included in the end credits of his new short film Neighbor. This was back in January of 2016. It was the first song I had written in many years, and as I thought about the concept of freedom from bondage, these words came spilling out onto the paper.

I’m trying to be patient
I’m putting in my time
I know I’ve got it good compared to some
Oh but I can’t help but wonder when it’ll finally be my turn
I can’t wait to finally go home.

Going home, going home
I wish I knew when I could go back home
Going home, going home
I wish I knew when I could go back home

I know I don’t deserve it
I know I made my bed
But all I do is toss and turn and moan
They say you help the needy, so listen to my prayer
Help me find the way to go back home

Going home, going home
I wish I knew when I could go back home
Going home, going home
I wish I knew when I could go back home

“Home” is a difficult concept for me these days. Where, exactly, is home?

For 23 years, home was wherever my wife and kids were, whether Indiana, Houston, Seattle, Tulsa, Redwood City or Santa Rosa.

Is my home in Indiana with my parents and siblings? I’m so excited to take the twins to visit next month. It will be good to be all together again, on this side of coming out, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be face-to-face with my family again, to talk without miles and miles separating us.

Is my home in the LGBTQ community? Last night after the event in San Mateo, I went with Tony to a screening of a movie called Saturday Church at the Frameline Film Festival. We were in the iconic Castro Theatre, surround by LGBTQ people, and the film was unabashedly queer. I felt, as I often have over the last year, totally at home with “my people” in that place. But is it my home?

I slept over at Tony’s and woke up in Redwood City, mere yards from the home in which I lived with my family for many years. It was in that home that I first came out to Luanne. It was in that wonderful church that I felt the real, loving presence of God Almighty, loving me and welcoming me as his precious son. I learned to be a pastor at Peninsula Covenant Church. I got honest about my life and my shortcomings. The twins were born while we lived in Redwood City. Josh and Jake were baptized there.

I sat in the Starbucks at Sequoia Station this morning and tried to write this post. I had lunch with a friend at Milagro’s. I marveled at the new construction and how unrecognizable downtown RWC is these days.

And then after lunch, I had the opportunity to visit some close friends. We have only spoken a few times since my coming out last summer, and it’s been, frankly, a little awkward and painful. Today I had a chance to share my heart and to hear theirs. I was able to admit responsibility for some of my wrongs and to say, “I’m sorry.” I left feeling grateful for the chance to re-connect and hopeful for the future of our friendship. I felt like I had been at home.

Tonight I’m sitting on my bed in Rohnert Park. Since February, I’ve been living in a rented room in a house that I share with six other people. This isn’t my ideal living situation, but for now, it’ll do. My housemates are friendly, and I know I’m welcome here.

Again and again throughout the last year, I’ve found myself needing hope and comfort. Oftentimes I look to other people to affirm me and to give me courage to face whatever it is I’m facing, but as Annie has told me again and again, I cannot look to people. I have to find my peace, my security, and yes, my home… in God. I John 4:16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” THAT is my true home.

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