Does the thought of home foster a sense of longing? Do you frequently experience feelings of loss or disconnection regarding your former place of residency? Do you daily wish you could just pack-up and go back home?
If you experience any of these symptoms on a daily basis, you may suffer from chronic homesickness.
Chronis Homesickness: [noun/state-of-mind] a bona fide malady that robs many of the joy to be had in the present moment.
Actually, it may not be bona fide or even recognized by the psychology community, but it plagues me daily. Some days I miss Alabama. On other days it’s Arkansas. I’m perpetually homesick for Montana. Just ask my students. I have posters of Glacier National Park plastered all over my classroom walls.
Perhaps I should take those down. Perhaps the constant reminder of what I’m missing is unhealthy. And yet, the photographs of turquoise lakes, alpine bear grass, and sheer cliffs make home feel a little closer. I figure that keeping a little piece of home is the first step to “curing” chronic homesickness.
Keep the Good Memories
What good comes from tossing out every memory in the hopes of moving forward? It is always advisable to keep sweet, little reminders for a rainy day. For many, the idea of home is intricately entwined with their identity, whether good or bad. If we forget who we are and where we come from, we quickly lose sight of what we might become or where we might go. So keep the little things that bring joy. It’ll help keep homesickness at bay.
Embrace the Now
At some point, we must move forward in the life God has called us to live. We were born to grow and move and create and become all God intends for us to become. Sometimes we must move from one place to another in order for God to change and grow us. Sometimes we must stay. I would argue that even those who have never moved experience homesickness. Our perception of “home” is altered as seasons change and as people come and go. Even so, we must let go of the past and embrace the present moment. Embrace it before it slips away.
Talk About It
Oh, you may drive some people crazy talking about home, but I believe it’s good for you. Don’t stuff your memories down. Don’t hold back your stories. Share them. You never know who might have a connection with the place you fondly speak of. Just this weekend I met a fellow Montanan living in San Antonio. Though he did not know my past, he knew the setting of my past. It warmed my heart to swap stories with him. These sort of connections help us to feel a little less lost in a new place. And we must share our hearts if our hearts are to be filled.
God cares about the status of our hearts. He cares for us when we feel uprooted. disconnected, and depleted. He invites us to embrace the beauty and blessing reserved for us this day. We can never go back home, but that is natural. Do not live today in a daze over yesterday’s realities.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of today and the gift of precious memories. Teach us to not let homesickness rob us of our joy, but to instead move forward in thankfulness for all we have been given and experienced. In Jesus’ name, amen.