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.