Last time I shared a cup with you all, I wrote about writing a letter to a granddaughter off at camp, and I reflected on the feelings I remember of being homesick away from home. As a matter of fact, looking back over my blogs, I sense a little whining about how hard it is to move away from “home.” I apologize for that.
But I realized I didn’t tell the whole story.
Homesickness isn’t an event or short-term accident. It’s existential (THERE! I finally got to use a classic theological concept on you). It’s one of those ‘built-in’ realities of life.
I know I won’t mope around the next few weeks and month so I can get over my blue period. I realize that in an important way I’m not going to wake up a week or two from now with a relieved “Now. I’m finally OK. I’ll try not to get in the dumps like that again!”
Hell. I was homesick back when I lived in the District. I think back to being a kid, and I’m homesick for playing in the creek in Timrod Park. When I went to college I was homesick for my dog, Skipper, and my friends in Florence. When I was in Chapel Hill I was homesick for the people in Pinopolis. When I was in England, and the choir and Eva sent me a record of the Christmas music ‘back home,’ I just blubbered.
I kid myself if I think I was really just homesick for all those things. It wasn’t missing those things that made me sad and wistful – it was more than that. And it’s always been more than that, and I suspect it’s so for you, too.
Deep in the middle of me there’s a sense of incompleteness, of wishing to be filled up in some parts of me that feel empty.
I have glimpses, momentary experiences, when it feels as if that empty bit of me feels full.
The same thing happens when I greet an old friend I haven’t seen for years. It happens (thanks to Sonya and the choir at St. Alban’s) every now and then in the music at church (and right after church). It used to happen when Sonny Jurgenson threw a pass that somebody caught.
There’s something deep in me that wants things to go right, even when they don’t. Something that feels un-finished, something that wants ‘more’ – and that believes there really IS something more. Something more that’s intended, and there’s Somebody outside me who wants that for me and wants it for you, too.
I know some of this is fantasy. I’m not SURE about Redskins quarterbacks, and I can live without dreams coming true there. And I know some of what I want to come to pass isn’t going to. (I’ll never be Pope. I know that. Some of you heard my daughter Barbara say that living with a priest as a father, it was good to know who the Pope really WAS — as she nodded toward her mother, Polly).
We do want things that’ll never be. But I know there is One who is on my side in trying to find where I need to be in life. Some one who pulls for me when I feel lost and homesick.
St. Augustine talked about this, and puts our lives in a larger context. A collect in the Prayer Book for New Zealand sums up his statement as a prayer:
You have made us for yourself,
And our hearts are restless
Till they find their rest in you:
So lead us by your Spirit
That in this life we may live to your glory
And in the life to come enjoy you forever.
Am I homesick? Yep. I was born that way. But at least I’ve got a sense of where home really is. And who’s there waiting for me. And calling me home.
Loren: I love your Daily Cups..they resonate with me on many levels. Elinor
Loren: I am grateful for your wisdom, your ability to look within yourself, and your willingness to share it with us. Anne