We're driving into New York, crossing borders like kids and cracks in the sidewalks. Careful, mindful. Each state borderline takes us further from the people with whom we built a family for a few years. We know we are leaving the south behind because there haven't been sixty foot crosses glaring at us from the highway sides in hours and the gas prices keep climbing. We know we're leaving the south behind because the temperature is cooling, or maybe it's just that the sun has gone down and our hearts too.

It's always hard to leave. It's always hard to come back. It isn't here or there, though, I am realizing. It's everywhere.

We blitzed our old town hitting every hot spot for drive through hugs and hurried How-Are-Yous? In the car I said to him that I don't why it's taken so long for me to realize that homesickness isn't a malady with a cure except heaven.

We're meant to be homesick.

He laughed from his seat and reminded me that he's been telling me that for three years. What can I say, I'm a dunce sometimes. And this is one lesson that could only be taught by moving back to the place I previously thought couldn't be topped.

Nowhere is home. Even if it feels like it on weekends.

And it used to be that because I always felt homesick, I never felt at home, but I think I'm realizing (again) that home is just the place where I feel things the deepest. And I can do that anywhere. So there, in Potsdam, New York, where I am driving toward: it's home because there I am taught and pushed and drawn out and used and sucked dry and filled up again.

But there, in Cleveland, Tennessee, with the Makeshift Family: it's home because there I love and laugh and encourage and question and am funny and get enough physical affection to fill my love tank for months. And wherever else I'll find myself in life, I'll find things that hurt and are hard, and things that are lovely and memorable. And I'll experience things that will notch my belt of spiritual lessons and things that I'll never know why I have to experience them at all.

(In my head, this is where I am home. I don't know where this is.
But it is home. Or heaven. Either one.)

But wherever I am, I'll always know lack. I'll know want. I'll know the goodness of God, but not His completeness. I'll be homesick, but my homesickness is for heaven, not for earth or New York or mountains or my church or my Makeshift Family or my real one or Starbucks or my favorite used bookstores.

My homesickness isn't wrong and I wish I had figured that out a lot sooner than now.

It's my prod to look heavenward.

September 2008