I’ve been homesick recently.

There. I said it. It’s out in the open.

I rarely say that here because I assume that you assume you’re reading the words of a grown woman here, one who’s lived in five states, two countries, and moved more times than she has fingers and toes—one that should struggle with homesickness about as much as she struggles with changing her own oil, which is to say never.

But no matter where I’ve lived, no matter how exciting the journey or the destination, it’s always home I long for most.

The truth is that on August 30th, 2010, when my car was packed and I was driving away from the last place that felt like home, I didn’t realize that it would be a long, long time until I loved something as fiercely as I love the northeast.

Sheldon Van Auken said of a conversation with his friend C.S. Lewis,

One night at Magdelen we talked. . . about that something we’re longing for, whether it be an island in the west or the other side of a mountain or perhaps a schooner yacht, long for it in the belief that it will mean joy, which it never fully does, because what we’re really longing for is God.

I read those words in high-school, underlined them, wrote them on a scrap of paper, and have never forgotten them.

What I’m really longing for is God. 

The other night the pit in my stomach and the lump in my throat was present. I just deeply needed something beautiful to love and to be loved by, as much as a brook or a weeping willow can love a person, as hemmed in as a mountain can make me feel—this is what I needed. So I asked the Texans on Twitter: tell me what there is to love in Texas.

The Texans on Twitter told me of great people, good food, great sunsets, trails two hours away, and a lake near my house. But what I wanted to tell them (and now I am) is that those things are everywhere.

What I want here is a secret place, a haunt, a cove, a river, a weeping willow. What I want is what I had back home: biking to the co-op for groceries, walking to the coffee shop to meet friends, an always open door with no need to entertain, a front porch with plants and hammocks and antique tables and always fresh food and conversation. What I want is the dinner table and the conversation that comes in fullness. What I want is a rushing, wild river a few miles from my house, and an Olympic village in a mountain-town a short drive away. What I want is a log-cabin with a woodstove and a birdcage made of willow branches. What I want is to snuggle babies whose mamas and papas I love dearly. What I want is a side porch, a kayak jaunt, a late night talk on a leather couch with a DDB.

When I ask for something to love, what I really mean is that I want something that loves me, envelopes me with knowing glances and incessant teasing and patient explanation, stands guard over me like a mountain.

Every place in the world has sunsets. There are people, amazing, brilliant, beautiful people everywhere I have lived. There is good food that can be easily found on many streets. There are manicured gardens and small botiques.

But those things are not ultimately what we’re longing for, are they? They’re not what I’m longing for.

So I’m homesick. Achingly so. Unable to be ignored. And when you hear me say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come,” please don’t worry about me. I am simply acknowledging the truth that there is nowhere outside of heaven where I will be Home. Not even home.


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21 responses to HOME still HOME

  1. My favorite scene in A Severe Mercy is when he recalls a night out on their yacht: the waves are luminescent and he is looking into the bright cabin where Davey (Davie? Davy?) is arranging shells. It’s funny…that scene is the book for me, and I can’t even remember whether the event is really described the way I’ve imagined it.

    Also, I think people who move a lot are peculiarly prone to homesickness, though perhaps differently than others are. For years, I felt homesick because I didn’t know where “home” was: where I was born? Where I lived the longest? Where I was currently living?

    I love this MacDonald quote:

    ‘”The only way to come to know where you are is to begin to make yourself at home.” “How am I to begin that where everything is so strange?” “By doing something. . .Anything; and the sooner you begin the better!”‘ (Lilith, George MacDonald)

    There something to that, even though the homesickness, the longing for something more familiar than what we’ve got, never goes away.

  2. I’ve never really felt as though I had a “home”. Growing up, I lived in a place where I never fit. Then I moved away for college knowing that I was just there for a season and as much as I loved those Smokey Mountains, they were never home. I never grew roots. When I moved into a group home and gave up two years of my life to mentor the young women that moved in and out… I never felt at home. I’ve spent a lifetime searching for “home” and never really feeling as though I would find it. Asking myself: When does a place become “home”? When there was a husband and a passel of kiddos filling up four walls with love and laughter? Or did I just simply have to make my current apartment… well, home? Truth be told, I don’t even like my current living situation. It’s old, noisy, broken down and my neighbors are not the finest, upstanding citizens. Surely, Lord this cannot be home! I long to be hospitable, have a revolving door and food always on the table. God, did you really give me this broken down apartment that smells like my neighbors chain smoking to make a home in? To host others in?

    What I am currently struggling through is the answer to all these questions stirring in my soul is, “Yes”. Yes! This is my temporary home, but it is the home He has given me. Until I can truly go Home. It is the home that I have been blessed with. The home that is filled with thrifted furniture and DIY projects. The home with the tiny kitchen that I manage to entertain in, even when the lack of counter space drives me nuts. I may never feel “at home”, but that’s okay. Because this is not Home. This is temporary… and lovely, full of joy and a glimpse of what is to come.

    Dear sister, you are not alone in longing for Home.

  3. Oh. My dear. I hear so much in this. Longing. Understanding. I know this. Sometimes, I feel like tulsa is my back up boyfriend. You know, settling? Of course there are the very real factors of where the job is and the children and not being a trust fund baby who can go wherever I want. But I find myself talking myself into being able to endure the summers, fighting the way it feels like it is sucking out my very soul. I’m rambling. Hugs to you.

  4. Goodness. This was the first thing I read this morning and I might have teared up a bit. I remember the scene. I remember it well.

    I think perhaps you’re right about people who move a lot. Strange, I’d think it was the other way around. One who had a sense of where home was for sure would be the most homesick. But maybe not. Maybe not because they know exactly where they are home and for the rest of us it’s just a sense, a feeling, a tying of the soul to something.

    Love the MacDonald quote. Keeping it.

    Praying for you as you make your cross country move soon, dear girl. I personally like it because it’s closer to MY home =)

  5. You’re a dear. For sure. I know all those feelings.

    And also, do you think that it’s strange that we’re both PA girls who went to school in the Smokeys? And that you’re going to move to TX =) I mean, can’t be coincidence =)

  6. You love me so well =)

    I know exactly what you mean about back-up boyfriend. Yes. Exactly. I’ll settle for this. And the truth is, I have it good here. I have my dream job. Roommates who are truly like family. A house I love. A church that loves me so well. But still the angst.

    That’s how I know what I’m really longing for is heaven.


  7. I’ve lived all over Texas(which can feel like 3 or 4 states at time), I’ve lived in two different countries and now I live in a state miles away from that lone star. I have no singular home with childhood memories. I’ve never painted a wall of an apartment because I’ve never lived there long enough to consider it worth it.

    I read Psalm 68:4 this last week and thought “How can I find You God?! There are no deserts here in Kentucky for You to ride through. How can I find You?!” So silly of me.

    Strange how our longings for that city, that home, that time eternal with the Light of that new creation is glimpsed differently in each of us. Some of us see it in willows, creeks, and coves with co-ops near. Others see it in flat, dry, cactus laded Texas Panhandle sky.

    I’ll be really happy when we are home together hopefully sooner than later, but not after we’ve spent as much time sojourning as possible.

  8. yesterday morning, i met a friend for coffee. i told her, “you know, i have this inkling about home sickness. i think it’s given to us for a reason. not so we miss home, but so we miss HOME. i’m almost certain.”

    and then i read your post, and i smile, because i love how the Holy Ghost works. :)

  9. Hoping you find your Texan touchstone soon. I feel that same need in Nashville. I think no matter how much we like a place, no matter how much we believe we are called to live in this place, there will always be the ache for home- and heaven, for that matter, too.

  10. Your line about riding through deserts. Yes. Strange how we know what home is most to us? Where we are from and where we belong. If it is true that we are knit before the foundations of the world, isn’t it true that we are most at home beyond the foundations of the world? Where there are deserts for you and mountains for me.

  11. I love the holy spirit too =)
    And I think you’re absolutely right, it’s given to us for that reason more than anything else.

  12. My touchstone. Yes. Maybe that’s what I need. Someplace to touch and know it’s a stone, a rock, a solid place. I’d give you a list of all the lovely spots I know in Nashville, but I have a feeling we need to come upon these spots on our own, find them, secret them, love them, and maybe share them someday =)

  13. I appreciate the offer- and I do know lovely places here- but finding a touchstone is a highly individual matter. We’ll know them when we see/experience them. But yes to sharing someday!

  14. Christie Anthony August 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I’m trying as hard as I can to have that cute snuggly baby. Then you can come sit on my couch and cuddle with him and hang out with me! I’ll even try and have some type of home baked good for you…I can make no promises though on the home made portion.

  15. I am a fan of everything here. Especially the part about cuddling him. Ooohlala.

  16. What want is the city that bustles at all hours with the
    promise the night doesn’t end until you want it to, where the lights make night
    stretch out into an eternity of possibilities. What I want is to complain about
    the weather every day because it makes those perfect two weeks in April seem
    like God has given you a glimpse of heaven. What I want is to drive down 75
    alone with the crowded knowledge that at any given moment on this highway and
    any given place in this city I am within a few miles of someone I know. What I want is a townhouse with the
    windows and doors sealed shut against the heat or cold or rain or anything else
    that would diminish the smell of home-cooked chili wafting out from the kitchen
    and permeating the whole house. What I want is silly little dogs that wear
    stupid little clothes. I want the
    city where we dress to the nines to go to the grocery store. I want the smell
    of wet concrete in spring, the thrill of a miracle inch of snow on Christmas,
    and the delicious first gasp of sweet cold AC air when coming inside in the
    summer. What I want is to sit around a coffee table of people with whom
    communication in every sense comes easily. What I want is the city that knows
    me and fits me. The city that is effortless. The city that opens its arms and
    says, “You belong here.”

  17. Oh I know all that so well. I love that I know so acutely what your experience is down there. and I cannot wait to see you!!!

  18. having moved a lot in the past eight years, God has been teaching me to take note of what I enjoy in each place I live, even if I really miss things from the other places I’ve lived. Learning contentment in the face of want is tough! Some days I miss being able to take walks on the dirt roads in Vermont, even if I love the food and community in Columbus.

  19. I love this, Lore. (Woman, you can WRITE.) My husband and I have often chased this around because we are from different countries. When we lived on his turf, I was horribly homesick. When we moved home to Canada, he was horribly homesick (and sometimes, still is, even 7 years later, for the small differences and changes). All that to say: yes.

  20. “Take note.” Yes. I think I need to do this. Oh, dirt roads in Vermont. Goodness. Love them. Miss them. Thanks for reading Ed. Truly.

  21. Yes. But aren’t we all just homesick for Home, right? Thanks for reading, Sarah, and for your lovely words. They mean much, I promise you. They mean much.

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