The state song in Kentucky is My Old Kentucky Home, by Stephen Foster. Everyone here knows it. It's like a religion. It plays at sporting events and ceremonies and graduations and countless other events.
I'm not even sure what the state song for Illinois might be.
There is a lot of pride around this part of Kentucky about being from Kentucky.
And it's wonderful!
I enjoy living in a place with a rich sense of heritage.
But it's not home.
Some days I'm reminded of how much this is not the world in which I was raised.
This is not "my old Kentucky home" - I have no nostalgia about life in Kentucky.
Some days the differences in "the South" and "the Midwest" are so glaringly obvious to me that it feels like I'm living in a foreign country. And I long for home. Some days I want the things with which I was raised to be part of my life again. I want the easy-going, friendly spirit of the Midwestern farmer's life to greet me in the morning. I want that sense of "we're pretty much all the same" to resonate through the life of those around me. This part of Kentucky is rooted in tobacco farms and horses - both cases where those who own the farms have exorbitant amounts of money and those who work the farms have very little (at least historically).
I'm not saying that's bad. Not at all! Many days I love where I live - the gorgeous rolling fields of green grass and white fences, the sweet Southern charm, the delicious foods, the opportunity to be at the heart of my denomination. It's utterly fantastic to live here most days!
Just not today.
Today I want "home."
I want the sense of the Midwest that matches the DNA of my heritage.
Some days I feel like I may never fully fit in here.
And I think I'm ok with that.
I want to be who I was born and raised to be.
Even if it leaves me feeling like an observer of my own life at times.