July 31, 2014

Homesick for Somewhere We've Never Been

Our language can be so confusing. I wonder all the time about how certain words translate. The word homesick is one I wonder about. If you didn't have an understanding of what it meant, would it be hard to make sense of?

A vivid memory I have of feeling homesick was in elementary school. It might sound crazy, but oftentimes when my class had a substitute for the day, I was homesick for my teacher. I must have taken a lot of comfort in the familiar and when my teacher was away I missed her.

I woke up the other morning with an uneasy feeling. I told my beau about it and he reassured me, but asked if I knew what might be causing my anxiety. I couldn't put my finger on what I was feeling until I was alone in the car, but that's when I realized I was homesick.

It's a sinking feeling, heavy and cold. You can't see it and you can't predict when it will surface. But when it does, there's a sort of emptiness...like nobody ever really knew you and nobody'd miss you if you were gone. It sounds like the end of the world, and when it settles on you it feels that way too. But the good news is there's a simple cure.

The best way that I can think of (or at least what works for me) to quit being homesick is to spend time with somebody who loved you before you were born. When somebody loves you before you're born, it means they've known you as you always were. And no matter how you were or how you are, it means they love you anyway. I'm lucky to have a few people like this in my life.

But some of those somebodies who loved me best aren't around anymore. And I think without even realizing it, I found myself homesick for them and the places they once were.

I'm homesick for my granny's house. Not for the building that still sits atop a little hill in the country. Nor the walls and windows and front porch covered in bright green Astro turf. Not even for the big flat rock under the hickory nut tree that my uncle loaded up and hauled off after she died.

But I'm homesick for the nights spent scootched up next to her on the couch, watching Wheel of Fortune. I'm homesick for her pink formica kitchen countertops...covered in flour as she rolled out biscuit dough for my breakfast. I'm homesick for her cheesy scrambled eggs which tasted better than any I've ever had since.

When I found myself feeling homesick the other day, I imagined myself at my granny's and I felt a little better. I pictured her in Heaven and thought about how because so many people who have pieces of my heart are there that some of my heart feels like it's in Heaven too.

I'm homesick for Heaven even though I can't describe it or envision it. I have no idea what it looks like or feels like, but there's a part of me that wants to be there sometimes. The older I get, the more people I've loved will go there. And that's a sad/happy sort of feeling.

It's a powerful thing to know that somebody loved you before they even knew you. If you have the chance to love someone like that, I hope you will.

It's definitely how I feel about my younger siblings, and cousins, and dear friends' babies, who are growing up before my eyes. Maybe one day they'll be homesick for me. I couldn't imagine a greater honor.