Monday, September 04, 2006


After spending two weeks at college, I made my first trip back home for Labor Day weekend, and I discovered a little bit about what "home" means. I know that sounds corny (this whole post probably will), but it's the truth. I can only describe it as one of those moments where I didn't realize what I had until it was gone.

The funniest thing is that I hadn't really been feeling homesick at all. As you know, I've been enjoying college life to the fullest. I decided to go home this weekend because, to be honest, everyone else on my floor was going home, and I didn't want to be stuck down in Wilmington with nothing to do all weekend. Besides, I had some laundry to get done. ;-)

So I packed my bags and made the two-and-a-half hour drive back to my hometown. As I pulled into the driveway of my house, I simply couldn't believe how happy I was to see it. Mom and Dad welcomed me at the door, and we talked for a long time about how life's been treating me (and life's been treating me very good, to be true). Then I had a home-cooked meal (spaghetti and banana pudding, oh how marvelous) and went to bed in my old room (possibly one of the best sleeps of my entire life). The rest of the weekend was spent visiting friends and family members that I hadn't seen in a while. I know it's only been two weeks, but everyone treated my visit like I'd been gone for a year or so (and it did feel like that at times). Then Monday rolled around and I packed my things up to go back to UNCW.

That's about it as far as the trip itself is concerned, but the feelings I experienced this weekend were rather new to me. Like I said earlier, I don't think you can get a real appreciation for what home is until you've been away for a while, and I definitely appreciated it this weekend. Home has always felt familiar. After all, it's where I've lived for the past eighteen years. But this weekend there was this strange warmth tied to the familiarity, almost like listening to a song that you haven't heard in ages. Every corner of the house, every painting on the wall, every crack in the ceiling, all seemed new and old at the same time. I found myself noticing things that I really hadn't seen before, like how pretty the morning light is coming through the living room window, or how good our tap water tastes, or how comfortable our couch is. It was a beautiful thing, but I wasn't too sad about leaving, either. I was saddened by the fact that, sooner rather than later, I wouldn't be calling that place home anymore.

Anyway, sorry to ramble. I'm very tired right now. There is one thing I've been thinking about, though. It's often said that heaven will feel like home. Now I understand what that means, and I'm looking forward to it.


em said...

That's a great reflection on "home" -- I never really had that experience whenever I went off to college. I would avoid returning to my parents' place at all cost. (maybe go back once or twice a year... and stay at college for summer school. eek!)

It wasn't until this last year when I was spending a good deal of time with my mom, who is now a widow, that I sensed some of that "home" feeling. It was awkward and interesting all at the same time... driving around my old neighborhood in the middle of nowhere... realizing that this is where I grew up -- this place helped make who I am now.

The strange and refreshing familiarity of it all was a new experience to me. Thanks for sharing, Jay! :-)

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Very nice post. My daughter came home to go to the state fair with us (and do some laundry). She is only about 15 min drive away. Then she was off again to visit one of her high school friends who is going to college about 3 hours away. I think she has been to see us twice in the last two weeks. She is really getting into college life which is great. Hope your year continues well.

Jay said...

Em: Thanks for sharing. I think it's interesting how we all seem to go through the same things, albeit at different times.

Inheritor: Thanks for the compliment. I hope your daughter's having a great time at college.


Angie said...

Yeah Jay... it sure does whet our appetites for heaven, huh! I used to inwardly scoff at people who talked about heaven and wanting to go there because I really like my life. But it doesn't take hating this life to yearn for heaven (though it often happens that way to open some people's eyes) but it takes a taste of the good stuff to really make us smile when we think of being HOME forever with our creator, savior and friend...

There's no place like home...