Originally appeared in Granite & Gray
“I was homesick for myself.”
Sue Monk Kidd, author of the Secret Life of Bees and most recently, The Book of Longings, said this of her early 40’s as her writing career was just beginning. Since reading this, the words haven’t left me, I’ve turned them over and over in my mind. She gave me the language to describe a feeling so familiar, so ingrained, so true, that until I read it, I didn’t consider there were words for it. She named it and in doing so, allowed me to consider this search for meaning – for identity, for myself – in a new way.
As a young girl, I attended a week-long summer camp and from the minute I boarded the bus, I was incredibly homesick. So much so that it was years until I attended any other camps, and that was only because they were mandatory. I was decidedly not a “camp kid.” I longed for the familiarity of home, for the comforts of my routines, my family, my life as I knew it.
Now, many years later, I realize I am homesick once more. This is different though, it is deeper. It is a longing for myself. It is layered and complicated – a quick bus ride and my favorite home cooked meal doesn’t resolve it. Gratefully, I write this from a house that I love, surrounded by people that I adore. But as I reflect on my life and its purpose – I know there is something more – a longing for my true self. I am homesick for the person that is still there, but somehow, I don’t always recognize the face staring back at me in the mirror.
It comes from a sense of disconnectedness, one that occurs slowly. A lifetime of worldly responsibilities and expectations – the silent accumulation of living a modern life has piled on so heavily that I’m left feeling as if I need to come up for air.
As uncomfortable as it is, I welcome it – this awareness. Instead of resisting it, I’m allowing it to pour over me. It’s a remembering, my dreams for myself at 17-years-old, my aspirations when it seemed the world was limitless, full of opportunity. Of course, I was incredibly naïve, my heart full of love for all the exciting experiences ahead. Life seemed a great adventure.
It is. Life is still a great adventure.
I needed the reminder. The naming of this homesickness has lifted the veil. I realize I spend more time writing down to-do lists and reminders to myself (pay the water bill, pick up groceries, call the Doctor) than writing the stories that set my soul on fire. Stories shared with others to offer hope. Stringing together the words, like those of Sue Monk Kidd, that inspire a new perspective. I long to feel connected again to the things there were a part of my life all those years ago. To nature, to writing, to escaping into a good book and discovering a new world. I want to feel potential, the unlimited energy of it all. My younger self calls out, begging me to remember.
Of course, life is a balance. I have a job, a family, real responsibilities. But it is not impossible to do more of what makes my heart sing, the work I know I’m put on this earth to do – to write, to share stories, to encourage others. To connect with words, through the power of story. Yes, I love my life – my family, this house I call home – I am grateful for it all. But I also want to feel more alive, more aware of the spiritual, the Divine, the magic all around us. I believe this is possible – to rekindle the childlike wonder to live a life of joy and purpose.
I offer no apologies for this.
Often, we live in shame or guilt, dismissing our dreams. “So many have it far worse, who am I to complain?” I get that – I’ve said that, but this is NOT some trivial thing – this is my life. I don’t expect everyone to understand it. But if you’re like me, if you see yourself in my story – if you’ve been hearing the call that began as a whisper but now roars – you know you must go for it. You have to claim it, fight for your return home.
Fight for your return to yourself.