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Blessed Homesickness
Photo: MorgueFile
Holiday arrangements did not happen as planned this past year. I found myself floundering about in a melancholy haze—going through the motions yet feeling sad and homesick.

I started reading a new book and came across a sentence that struck me like a bulls eye dart. The author described missing her daughter as a loss re-opening an older, deeper sense of loss. I didn’t get to see our daughter for the second Christmas in a row. And that happens with adult children and life circumstances. Yet since my mother died, my daughter’s hugs and presence help fill that gap in my life. 

So a few days ago, I finally cried some tears in the car with my husband when I explained my recent feelings. His “let’s fix it,” question was, “Should we get you a plane ticket to Michigan?” I will defer until Spring, yet I gave him the honest answer, “What I’m homesick for, isn’t there anymore.” Childhood memories, memories of my children and our parents, fantasies of what life used to be like—it’s all different now. I can’t even trust that all the memories are correct.

As a child, I do remember staying for a few nights with my grandparents a mere 10 or so miles from my home. I might as well have been on the other side of the earth—so intense were the feelings of being away from the familiar. I never wished to experience youth camp or boarding school. I truly loved being with my pets and roaming my farm fields. Somehow, that place gave me visions of what an eternal existence might be like in a Heaven with endless friendly beasts and awesome landscapes.

Sense of Heritage, Roots, and Connection

I am a deeply nostalgic person and I’m trying to come to terms with why the past always seems to stick to me like dragging around a piece of toilet paper stuck to my heel. At times, I have cursed this part of me. At other times I have claimed it as a strength—a sense of heritage, roots and connection. Did I also inherit that anxious family gene that seems to appreciate traveling within a 50-mile radius? Or maybe it is the traumatic result of making 11 moves in 33 years of marriage, resulting in an uncertainty about home’s location? Perhaps that is why I appreciate a doorknob hanger that states, “Home is where the dog is.”

I sometimes fear that God must tire of my internal compass that often replays like that weary creature in “E.T.” the movie, who continually pointed to the sky and crooned, “H-h-o-o-me…” Now past the halfway point in my earthly journey, I am realizing that this unshakable homesickness has a purpose. When I can’t bear the thought of a future without a family member, when I miss the consolation of a dear-loved pet, when I want an endearing story to never end or a breathtaking performance to continue —I am reminded that God created me for Home and for Eternity. I believe that God uses my melancholy disposition to reach me, year after year, event after event.  The only truly abiding home that I will have is with the Spirit of God abiding in me to remind me of the rest and security that I long for with Jesus. “Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’” (John 14:23).

Nothing totally makes up for that unresolved feeling--not photos, voice recordings, or antiques from the family farm.  He has given me just enough homesickness to make me continually long for that day when I will truly be at Home and I won’t have to leave or say good-bye again.

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By Karen Spruill. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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