Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection,  LC-USF33-011536-M3
Lee, Russell, 1938, photographer

I was awakened by strange and sad dreams hours ago.

Or aching jaw, clenched undetected in sleep. Or gnawing gut, making me regret roast beef. Or a cat.

And now I need tea. (Horrible stuff, chamomile. But good for healing.)

Because now there are thoughts, tugging at my mind. If I write them, maybe they’ll go away and let me rest.

* * * * *

My mind replays tapes of failure when I lie in bed too long awake.

Things neglected. Things forgotten. People neglected. People forgotten.

Failure that I’m not really sure is always failure.

. . . I’ve begun filtering. Taking thoughts captive and filtering them through truth. Sometimes there are lessons mixed in among the mid-night lies.

But so much of what keeps me awake did not keep mankind awake until modern times.

I’m sure 90% of what I feel guilt about never crossed Ma Ingalls’s mind. She would never have beat herself up for having bins of photos instead of completed photo albums gracing her shelves. Or fretted about not getting the oil changed in her car.  Or of posting too much on Facebook. Or of being shy of the phone. Or just being social enough in general . . .

Now and then, when I am overwhelmed by the expectations of this life and its measures of worth, I look back. Far.

To a time when hospitality was giving water to a weary traveler or inviting the circuit riding preacher to Sunday dinner. When life and work were one in the same, blended together. When everyone worked with their hands, busy doing, busy surviving. When relationships were built over building barns. And I wish so much that we still did that. That we still built barns together.

Community is so vast now. So broad, far and forced that it isn’t community.

My town tries.

I see the same people at soccer, at school, at the store.

But not at church because there are so, so many. And I wish there was just one.

So many churches. Rarely a barn.

* * * * *

 . . . I feel so much like I don’t belong.

This is the thought that gets me out of bed tonight.

I reason with myself that that is as it should be.

Because I don’t.

This is a new filter. Old, well-known, but newly, deeply, accepted. A neighbor reminded me recently at a moment I was ready to hear it. She feels it, too.

This emptiness we feel . . . We were created for perfect. The world isn’t and is getting worse. We aren’t and will not be on this earth.

It’s okay. The emptiness is longing for heaven.

Every generation, from Adam, no matter what has kept them awake at night has felt the same ache.

We see through a glass, darkly. We long to see clear. 

They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:3-4

10 thoughts on “homesick”

  • Deb,
    you just hoisted a wall of that barn you are seeking to build. I know it is hard, because facebook seems so much more amorphous than a “real” community. There are no faces to put to comments to – no smiles – no tears to brush away physically, but your writing has an impact. So many times I read here and say – yes that’s what I feel, but haven’t been able to put into words. Thanks for the reminder that Ma Ingalls felt a little alien too and that not fitting in is a feeling that we should have. That we shouldn’t ever accept this broken world as our true home.

    • Thank you, Mysie. We are cut from the same cloth. I am loving reading your writing and rebuilding the bond we had as kids. Even your post makes me long for the closeness of the old days. Or rather, the future. Much love!

  • I understand that awake-ness and wrestling with overwhelming thoughts to weed out the lies. I understand the feeling of not fitting in or rather, where exactly do I belong? We are made for more. Made for Him. Made for His Glory. So I exist prayerful, watchful and careful to make this short “whisp” of a life, one that honors, searches and reaches for His heart on the journey that we call life. May the barn we build be places where people may find rest, comfort and grace through the One who gives it to us. 😉

  • Yes and amen to all the above – the wakeful nights, the fears and regrets, the full bin/empty album thing. But most of all yes and amen to ‘not belonging here’ . I am trying to adjust to life in a 4th country and I know more deeply and certainly that the strangeness I feel has more to do with WHO we are (God’s called and redeemed ones) than WHERE we are (anywhere on this planet) . Thank you for the continued blessing of your blog!

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