I found myself caught off-guard tonight as I looked at a photo my friend Jim posted on facebook of his new baby boy. The next photo was one of him, his wife and he now oldest son, sweet, smiling and happy. I began to tear up.
Three people my second year in St. Louis changed me, and he was one of them. Not because of anything in particular he did, but because of a shared experience we had. These three people mean the world to me, and yet our shared experience was just that: a shared experience. We haven’t really been in touch since I moved to Arizona… just a few emails and some ichating, and the occasion twitter convo.
I long to be back in that experience with them.
I recognized the feeling. The feeling of homesickness. The feeling of love, protection and support you get from being around those who understand you. I know that’s rare for many people, and perhaps even a bit more so for me. I’ve lived a somewhat transient lifestyle. From Nebraska to Kansas to Colorado back to Nebraska to Missouri to Arizona. Probably somewhat unusual for someone my age. Right now, I don’t really have a place I can call home. But I find my home in the people who changed me, the people who get me… and as I ponder this more and more, I’m realizing it’s the people who don’t demand things from me, but just love me and support me for who I am.
Sure that a lot of this is coming from where I am at in my life right now, I can’t help but feel self-indulgent and kind of like a baby. When I was growing up I pretty much consistently demanded and expected to get my way. Thankfully, my parents rarely gave in to me, determined not to spoil me. I still was, to an extent. I lacked for nothing. But I didn’t always get my way so I do feel somewhat grounded in my life. But God also wired me to care for people, and I often do that instead of care for myself. One of the ways I was cared for while in St. Louis was having this shared experience with these three people. I miss them desperately. And I’m in the process of trying to understand if it’s because I just miss them… or because the burden of ministry work is getting to me and I need to step away and take a vacation. But I worry that taking a vacation would just result in me thinking about work the whole time. BUt I know that I long to be back in community with those three people, who made a class project so much less painful than it could’ve been, because they loved me for who I was, valued my input and made the pain of the final presentation (a story in and of itself) endurable.
Am I homesick for my old life? Am I homesick for support? I hate that I can’t figure out why I feel homesick. Because that means I can’t solve this problem. Without knowing the root I’m require to just sit here and grieve. And I don’t even know what I’m grieving!
Help me understand, Lord. Help me understand.