Some mornings I wake up and the first thoughts to grace my mind are of my family. I'm blessed to be in the same country as them, on the same side of the globe, but moving so far away to attend college has stretched my heart and sometimes it aches bitterly.
When I'm at home, my mornings often begin with a gentle awakening from my dad, or a joyful, song-filled entrance into my room by my mom. She loves to wake me with a reminder of the fact that it's a beautiful day, while my dad is sweet to greet me with a cup of coffee or the assurance that "the coffee's ready!".
The feeling of being at home is the feeling of family. My family feels like the kind of laughter that makes your side ache, and the kind of love that warms you like the comfort of the wood stove. When I am at home, my heart is refreshed as I sit with my family around the familiar kitchen table. My mind is stretched as we share conversation about the obscurities that most fascinate us. My spirit can peacefully rest in the company of those I know almost as well as myself.
Even though I'm far away when I'm at school, the connection that spans across the miles brings us together- even when we're apart. I anticipate returning home with eagerness and mourn the growing distance between us as I trek back to school. I don't dread the return because I dislike the destination; no, I only anticipate the returning of the well-known longing for home.
I count myself blessed to have a family worth missing and I love the way we reconnect as though we've never been apart. Still, leaving them after almost a week at home for Thanksgiving break would have been easier if I was a little less attached. Does this mean that distance is better, that relationships are less painful when their depths are shallow?
I've learned that the sadness I experience when I say goodbye to my family is a gift, reminding me that I have given and received some of the most authentic love that this earthly life has to offer. When homesickness shows up, as it indefinitely will, the worthwhile (and difficult) thing to do is to say "hello" and embrace the feeling for the great truth it reveals: home is place worth missing. That lesson is one I am honored to learn the hard way.