What I have to say today will be something I know I’ve said before.
When I was in college I was obsessed with the idea of home. I wrote about it on here a lot: home, friendship, and the weather. In fact, my fixation became so obvious by the end that the poem my dad wrote for my twenty-second birthday was simply called “Homing.” “Our daughter’s always leaving to return– / Her warmest heart is longing after home– / For home she’s made, and for her home she’ll yearn,” ran the refrain.
And then I came home. I lived in my parents’ house for a year, and now I’m in my own place about a mile away. I’ve stopped thinking about home as much, and I’ve certainly stopped writing about. I’m here, right? I don’t need to miss it.
Except sometimes late at night, when I’m not sleeping (which I’m often not), I get homesick. I become keenly aware that I am not where I really long to be, that I live in a place that is shattered, alongside people who, like myself, are bruised and bent from birth. I am more aware of the reality of sin than I’ve ever been before, and sometimes on those nights, even safe in my own bed, I can hear it oozing through the floorboards and pounding in my veins, until I am nearly deaf with the sound. It makes me sick for the land I have yet to lay eyes on, the land where this is set right.
But though I haven’t laid eyes on that final country yet, I do know its taste. It comes to me, and to you, in flickering part-pictures. You find it in conversation with the people who are the gentlest, in the handwriting of someone you love, in some combination of colors, in a very full room or a very empty one, in five-part harmony, in a single voice which speaks a single word. You blink and it’s gone, but for a moment you were Home and now the air is full of its lingering wonder and tang. That’s no accident.
I am trying to be more conscious about bottling these moments to save, not because I think they will cure my late-night homesickness, but because I am greedy to have heavenly truth here on earth. I want what those visions will teach me.
Two weeks ago, while sitting in my second period class, I wrote this:
The sun is out, and this makes me feel as if I am standing up straighter. Like its beams are strings attached to my spine and my chin that tug up, up, up. I feel soft and melted on the inside, as if all those things that weighted me are dribbling away and soon I will float away like a balloon, swinging unsteadily, joyfully, from my ropes of light as more of my forgotten cares drip off my dangling toes.
So that is how I feel. I am grateful, and gratitude smells like rosemary.
That rosemary-sunshine-gratitude is what we’re made for. The rest is shadows.
I really enjoyed the opening lines of your father’s poem. Could you send me the whole thing?
The only copy in existence is handwritten. So no.