Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TRIP (10/18/18)
By Brad Paulson
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I have been feeling homesick the last few weeks. I tried to commiserate with some of the local folks I have befriended, but there is no word in their language that means ‘homesick’. Most of the people in this village have never wandered more than a few miles from here so the idea of leaving home is foreign to them. Home for them is where they exist, where they have always existed and where they will continue to exist. I wish it were that simple for me.
On previous mission assignments I always knew that at some point my work would be finished and I would return home. However with Mom’s passing and you being moved into Fairwinds, I’m not really sure what home is anymore. I thought it was our house, where I grew up, where you and Mom lived almost all of your married life. With neither of you there, 4638 Brenda Circle is now just another house, the house that used to be home.
I have many wonderful memories from that place. Mom always made sure my birthday celebrations were epic. Shep was the greatest dog the world will ever know, raised from a pup and put to rest at that house. The play structure in the backyard where I would play for hours, and you may not know it, but it was also the place where I experienced my first kiss with Penny the girl down the street. I could fill pages with all the memories, some happy and some pretty difficult. But even the difficult memories are laced with threads of a loving family that gave support and encouragement.
The funny thing about memories is that we can take them with us wherever we go. I experience great comfort in that knowledge, but I’m still away from home. I often wonder how you are able to process your memories. On the surface they seem to have faded to the point where some people say you don’t remember anything. I refuse to believe that. I think you still remember, you just can’t express yourself anymore. You, mom and the house were a big part of my life, but now I realize that the home I came from is gone.
It is almost comical that I have this longing for a place where I often felt like an outsider. Much of my life I felt awkward and un-cool. You guys were always my best encouragers, but I never felt like I was good at anything and I spent many nights praying that I would soon be old enough to leave and find a place where I truly belonged. I remember coming home from church camp and telling you that I’d had a hard time fitting in. I wanted to give my life to the Lord, but I wasn’t sure if He would even want a geek like me. You told me that I needed to get used to the feeling of not belonging. That if I truly wanted to give my life to Christ, then I would forfeit my citizenship of this earth and it would be a long time before I would enter into my real home. This life would just be a trip, a journey. I was simply passing through on my way to my real home with the Lord. That is an image I hold on to, especially these last few weeks.
I don’t know if you will still be able to read this letter, but Aunt Donna has assured me she will read it to you. For now, you may not be able to understand these words, but it is okay. We both know things will be all right when we get home. It appears that you are going to get there a bit before me. Give Mom a hug when you see her. The Lord still has work for me to do so I’m not sure when we will all be together again, but rest assured that we will.
I suppose it is my destiny to remain homeless for now. Perhaps I’ll meet someone, start a family of my own and set up a temporary home. It could be wonderful like the one we had, but we both know everything in this world is temporary. I long for something permanent. I ache to be with you and mom. I have such a yearning to be home.
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