Our move has certainly been an adventure thus far and I have embraced it. I am enjoying all the new opportunities it has allowed for and love living somewhere new for the first time in my adult life. I don’t often find myself homesick – not to say that I don’t miss my friends and family greatly – but on a day to day, I am really excited to be here. That said, there have been a few times since our move that I have felt incredibly homesick and one of those times is now.
The first time I felt homesick was shortly after we moved to DC and was very unexpected. We had decided to check out the church across the street which was the same denomination as the church that we attended in Oviedo. Back home, we were deeply involved with our church. My husband was the president, I sang in the choir and played handbells for a while. The kids attended Sunday school, and we were very involved with smaller events and tasks on a regular basis. It was a small church and it felt like a family. My husband and I had gone to one service at the DC church while apartment hunting in January. It was beautiful, old, and well established. But now we were DC residents and walking into this gorgeous old historic building filled with faces I did not recognize made me feel extremely alone. I had my family next to me, but every other face in the crowd was a complete stranger. I realized then that we were in a rebuilding phase of our life. All the hours and days spent investing into our old church had to be done again. Walking into that church was a reminder that a piece of my life was gone.
Now, I am not trying to sound dramatic. It was only a temporary feeling of homesickness, but it wasn’t expected. It is funny how emotions just creep up on you at times.
The second time I felt homesick was after the Pulse shootings in Orlando. To have a major tragedy happen to our community so soon after the move felt almost paralyzing. Hearing all the graphics details of the event and playing it out in my head over and over took me to a very dark place. It did not help that Pulse was a club that I had been to several times, so I was able to visualize the specific details in my head as newscasters reiterated the tragic story. I actively scanned Facebook making sure my friends were okay and stalking sites as pictures of each victim were posted. I felt so guilty for feeling relieved when the list was finalized and knowing that I wasn’t connected to any of the victims. It broke my heart to think of their family and friends and knowing that they were likely doing the same thing but with different results. And here we were in DC. It didn’t feel like there was anything we could do to help shy of donating blood and going to vigils. If we had been in Orlando still, of course this situation wouldn’t be changed, but I could have offered my services to the counseling centers around town or been part of the human chain link fence keeping away the hateful protests of Westboro Baptist Church. I could have been with friends. But I was here in DC and I felt alone.
And now, sitting here with a major hurricane coming and all my loved ones in Florida. There is nothing I can do. We sit idly watching the news, keeping our Facebook open to check out posts from family and friends hoping that everything will be ok. Questioning whether we made the right judgement call on what to do about our house in Orlando. Feeling outside of it all. Sitting on the sidelines, not being in the game. Not being able to hunker down with friends or family, to help put up hurricane shutters, make frantic runs to get more water (and wine!), and fill up all the tanks with gas. Feeling like an outsider looking in with nothing we can do to help. Just sit. Watch. Wait.
And again, I feel homesick because it is during these times where it feels only natural to be close to your loved ones. This is the first time in my life that I’m not just a simple drive away. These are my growing pains and I know they are good for me. I’m growing as a person. I’m learning to sit with this anxiety and work through it. That is a good thing. And one day I’ll have to send my kids off to college (or the next phase of their life) and these life lessons will help prepare me for the uncomfortableness of sitting on the sidelines.
But as I sit here waiting I pray that everything will be ok, because that is all I can do. So instead of worrying about it any longer, I’m going to go make myself some tea, take a warm bath, and try to get some sleep.
Wishing everybody in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas the best as the storm approaches. And prayers to all those affected in Haiti and the Bahamas.
I wrote the above sentiments last night as a way of letting go of my anxiety about the upcoming storm and my inability to do anything to help prepare. At the time I was unaware of the path the hurricane would take. The storm is on it’s way through Florida. It has already passed through South Florida and is making it’s way through Orlando. So far, my family in South Florida avoided any damage. My Orlando family and friends all seem to be faring pretty well too, but we are still waiting for the storm to pass completely to assess any damage. Thank goodness! 😉