I hesitate to write about this, because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I am not pining away and not eating and wasting into nothing. (more like the opposite).
My question is, why do we feel homesick? Or more correctly, why do I feel homesick? Why can’t I live to the fullest where I am right now instead of thinking of what used to be, and being pulled back to the past? Why can’t I embrace to the fullest this dream that has been God’s and mine for so long- serving Him where ever He leads? When I was at home, I was homesick for this country. Last year when I was here, I was homesick for home. Am I just some wavering, emotional person who can’t be satisfied with what God gives, or is there something deeper? Is there another reason I get homesick?
I know I’ve wrestled through this before, this feeling of longing for something that is no more. I went through it at the age of 16 when I left our home for a week to help my cousin with her newborn baby. That one week felt like a year. I cried every night, lost weight, and counted down the days until I could go home again. That was one week. One week!
Sometimes at times like this, especially in the morning, one little thing, or item, or thought, or word, can stir up a memory of things that used to be, and we long for those people again, and home, or even those other hardships that seem easier to bear now that they are in the past and time has smoothed away the pain. Childhood memories, things I haven’t thought about for ages, come rushing back. And yet, my question is, why, why, do I find it so hard to embrace the present, and live life to the fullest when I am in the moment, instead of waiting until it is past to realize how much it meant to me? Like right now, why can’t I embrace to the fullest what I am experiencing right now, instead of missing the things that are past?
And I wonder, where is home exactly?
Usually I try to tell myself, just get over it. Being homesick shows you don’t have the ability to live in the present, and you’re never satisfied or grateful with what you have. You’re not there, you’re here. Get over it. (that doesn’t really work.)
But then something else says, wait. Perhaps there is something deeper than what you are seeing now.
Perhaps the real reason we get homesick is because we really weren’t created to have this world as our home. We get homesick for our earthly home because deep inside, where perhaps we don’t even realize it, we are homesick for our real home, for what actually is reality. The home we’ll never leave once we get there.
And knowing this, I let myself grieve the past.
So often in the morning as I awake
In the early hours of the dawn
When snatches of a windblown dream
Dance on the edges of my awakening
My heart is turned to home
And fleeting sprites of memories
Wisp in and out of my thoughts
And my heart that is still not large enough
Aches with the loss of what it cannot have
And longs to embrace what it does have.
Then in the presence of these memories
That danced in my half-awakened dream
I give in to the pain of being mortal
And unable to understand it all
And then I bow my head, and let the… tears… fall…