With the holidays around, I have to be honest and say that I’ve been a little homesick. But, what does that mean? What does home mean, and why is it that we get “homesick”?
What is home, and why do our hearts yearn for it? What makes a home a home, and why is it that you can never truly take your “home” out of your heart?
The way we grew up is ingrained in our very beating hearts. When life seems bleak and blustery, it’s what motivates us. It’s what keeps our hearts alive when we feel we just can’t go on.
That image and feeling of home, even if our home wasn’t perfect, is something we keep with us forever. We remember the smells, the cookies baked and the meals eaten around the table. Even when our homes might have been painful or even unbearable, it usually seems there is something – some sort of memory; like that time your mom baked those amazing chocolate chip cookies or the time that you got the one Christmas present you really really wanted.
Sometimes, though, it feels like we are far, far away from home. Whether it be physically, or mentally. Sometimes you’re 6,595 miles away from your hometown, sometimes your heart aches to build your own place to call home. Sometimes both.
Times like these can feel very, very alone. It can be hard to know how to get “home” – and the road can seem very, very long – like the lyrics in one of my favorite songs from the Lumineers:
“Nobody knows how to get back home
And we set out so long ago
Search the heavens and the Earth below
Nobody knows how to get back home”
-The Lumineers, Nobody Knows
What you should know, though, is that you are NEVER alone – and that you can create a home inside your heart – wherever you go. You can find a home in the world – everywhere you go. This, I believe, is something we are ALL searching for.
What I mean by this is that you ARE your own home. YOU can be your home – when you come back to your heart.
It is helpful and wonderful to have people around you that love you. I want that too, especially with the holidays around the corner – but I have also found a strength inside of my heart and my soul that I never knew existed.
When I am alone, in my apartment, a world away from everyone and everything, and all of my support group back home is sleeping, the only thing I have left is myself. And it’s these moments that I know that I truly have everything I need.
That I am stronger than I could ever imagine.
I have also experienced times that I have family and people around me and I feel even more alone than if I am at home alone. For me, this is further proof that I truly do have complete power over what I call “home”, at finding my place in this world.
This is why, as one of my really good friends reminded me, that often to move forward and to truly find peace, happiness, and a sense of home, you must first find that home in your heart.
Living abroad and by myself for much of my life at this point has taught me this lesson many times.
When my heart is full, I feel at home. I have come home to myself, to the beauty and appreciation of who I am and the world around me and this thing we call life. I feel wild and free and empowered and inspired all at the same time.
No amount of family or friends could give me this feeling unless I also feel it within my own heart as well.
So as the holidays approach, I am aching for my mom’s pumpkin and apple pie. I know I already missed the apple picking season and garden harvest. I ache for the fireplace and the first snow and ice skating and hot chocolate by the fire.
I ache for it all. But I’ve also ached for that feeling when I’ve been right there. I missed it when it was right under my nose.
Sometimes, my heart aches, even more, when I’m right smack dab in the middle of it. When I’ve seemingly been given everything I’ve ever wanted but didn’t have the eyes or heart to understand or appreciate that I already had it all.
The balance is delicate, but having people around you that love you and having a feeling and sense of community is important – so I wish for you all to have that this holiday season. If you don’t have it, reach out. There are people who care, I know this from personal experience.
And reach out into your own heart and discover what’s there. Because you are worth it, and you are worth being loved by yourself. More worth it than you may ever know.