|Painting by J.M.W. Turner, "Snow-storm - Steamboat off a Harbour's Mouth." c. 1842|
|Painting by J.M.W. Turner.|
The homesickness of childhood, a harrowing first summer at camp or visit to the grandparents with distant relatives, even riding in their Cadillac, is of a different species than the homesicknesss of a more advanced age.
The longing for family and what is familiar, one's own bed and one's stuff, may give a context for the more existential version of the affliction as I have come to recognize it. I don't know if it is normal or pathological, the yearning for safe harbor, calm seas, reassurance and an external steadiness that life seldom offers.
Not a constant state, at least not a conscious one, this form of homesickness may be for something never experienced but dreamed of, idealized, sought. It may be for the return to an earlier time when, whether it actually was or not, existence seemed less fraught with uncertainty.
Jobs and paychecks are more illusion than reality. A roof of one's own is not a forever promise, nothing on the material plane is.
Home is a quiet mind. It is the willingness to lean into faith in the face of so few guarantees. It is acknowledging how much is unknown and uncontrollable and taking the next step anyway or standing still for a time, collecting my wits and other vulnerable parts. It is a refusal to be swept away by fear or despair, by all the answers I don't have.
We are pieceworkers, patching together security blankets out of what we can gather, out of what we know to be true and lasting - beauty, love without expectations, serenity and an extensive collection of files detailing everything that ever, against great odds, turned out well, evidence of good outcomes.
It is important for me to know and name this yearning. Otherwise, terror wins and I feel myself leaving this moment for tomorrow's shadowy corners. Yes, it is a rocket ride to someplace I've never been. It just might be home.