Middle years come with the feeling of being homesick. The feeling when remembering the calm while being rocked as a young child. Absorbing the beat of my father’s heart as it bumped along the dull humming of “Home on the Range”. The rush that comes when walking into the house as the scent of chocolate cookies and fresh laundry intermingle speaking of love to the one that has been away. The peace that comes in the chaos of breakfast as four little people move endlessly, dropping toast, spilling juice all along with the sound of Arthur the Aardvark playing in the background.
Experiencing these moments, homesickness holds me.
I shouldn’t be surprised by homesickness. It comes in waves. The grey and cold of winter is here. The country I live in looks foreign. So much has been revealed of our human nature. Hate and intolerance is too loud. The pandemic only made things worse. People dying because we can’t or won’t love each other. We all just want our own way. Ignorance is uncovered and we have to find a way to make things right. It will look differently and it will be better. In the meantime, we are on unfamiliar soil.
Children keep growing up. Every return home on a college break reveals it.
My first grandchild has arrived. It has not been an easy task for the new mom and dad. I keep going back to my own birth stories and I wonder how my own mother did it. Did she want to call me every minute of the day? Tell me how to place the pillow so nursing is easier. How to just settle into the nonroutine that comes with a newborn. How to just enjoy because this too shall pass. Isn’t this mine to make things better for my children?
Instead, I remind myself this is their story. Their time to make their place to call home.
The longing pulls at me and I know I need to loosen my grip – to actually let go and let the current take me. Ride the grief that comes and know that some waves will make me gasp for air. But, also know that the tide always goes back to shore. That I will land. Back to find my own way home to myself. And, with God.
Karen Treat, Spiritual Director at Loyola Center for Spirituality.
Join us- Coming Home
Beginning Thursday, February 18, Spiritual Director, Barbara Leonard and I will be beginning four weekly gatherings to reflect on the spiritual journey in the middle years and beyond. It will be a time to reflect this beautiful time in life and begin the process of what it means to come home to ourselves. And, God.
Here are two authors that we recommend for further reading:
Rupp, Joyce (1996) Dear Heart Come Home: The Path of Midlife Spirituality. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company.
Rohr, Richard (2011) Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. San Francisco, California: Josey-Bass.