I have had this ache for quite a while now. I used to feel it mostly in my skin… on the very edges of all of me like a waking-up-nerve kind of tingle… or a toes-so-cold-prickly-warming-up sensation. These days it has settled into my bones… deep into my bones such that no medicine can relieve its constant beckoning call for attention.
I can’t define it or describe it or even call it by name. I can only say what it is like, not what it is or where it comes from. It’s just there… all day/every day… an emptiness inside that aches.
In a moment of quiet prayer I name the void… I am homesick.
And I am grieving.
For the spiritual home that fed me God when I was a child. For the community that was a hub of interesting, faithful people and frenetic, chaotic, wonderfully energetic activity. For a time when the Scriptures felt fresh and alight with God-messages that pierced my ability to comprehend. For a vibrant worship experience with an inspired priest who was deeply engaged with the people. I am homesick for my church.
What exactly I wish to recapture I don’t know. I do not wish to turn the clock back; the past has served us well but it is a new world we live in today. I have not lost faith nor have I lost sight of God in my everyday. I pray differently now than I did before, but still I am sustained by a peaceful interior. I just know that something is missing because I used to have it.
I know a lot of people who are experiencing this same feeling. We all talk around it in circles but no one seems quite able to adequately say what it is all about. And we are all hoping that we’ll find it again… or maybe it will find us… because we keep showing up every week whether we feel like it or not. We keep hoping that one word or phrase, one spark of an idea, one bit of inspiration will set us on fire again. Is it silly to keep hoping?
I know the world is changing. I know that I am changing. I think I am hoping that my church will change too. To keep pace with the reality that I experience everyday. To better understand the challenges and struggles that the world presents for me and my family. To help me wade through all the bombarding messages that compete for my attention. To offer me a safe haven when I need to unplug for a bit. The church I used to know was this kind of place.
Now I am a homesick crane desperately flying night and day searching for my mountain nest…