Monday, March 30, 2015

A Permanent Homesickness

Water Drop, Rain, Falling, Pouring

   Before I came to college, I thought that eventually I wouldn't be homesick. After my first semester it would be tolerable, I planned. After freshman year it would be doable. Then, when I returned for my second year, I wouldn't be homesick at all.
   But how wrong I was.
   It does get easier. It does disappear, but for me, it isn't long before the homesickness returns. And I am beginning to see that I have a disease called permanent sickness. Because as my third Easter away from home approaches, I just want to be able to go home like everyone else can. Because part of me is still sitting by the doors of my freshman dorm right where my family said goodbye, wondering why they left me.

  Every time my dad tells tales of his childhood in Pennsylvania, that is the permanent homesickness. 

  Every time my mom thinks of her dad, that is the permanent homesickness, too. 

  And every time I hear them, every time I feel it myself, I think “This isn't right. But I chose it. This isn't right, but it couldn't be stopped. No matter what anyone says, this isn't right.” 

  But I have another kind of permanent homesickness. It is the longing I have to be with Jesus in Heaven. It is the longing Jesus felt when on earth for His Father in Heaven. It is my ultimate longing that I ashamedly forget, but my permanent homesickness helps me remember. 

  When I am away from my family and my mountains and my bill-board free state, I will miss them. If I decide to live in Michigan when I graduate I will miss them. If I end up moving back home, I will miss Michigan and the childhood I no longer have. But what I miss points me to something greater that I miss—my God and Savior, my eternal home. Something I should long for more, and something I will one day have for eternity. 

  So I am rejoicing in my permanent homesickness because one day it will be permanently erased. It is not right now, but it will be someday.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Listening to Painting

 I always liked drawing. The lines and colors didn't call me the same way words danced in my head, and it wasn't the same thrill as reading an old, musty book with my mother's maiden name written on the top of the first page. But I still enjoyed my colored pencils on a white piece of paper.

 Until my sister did it better.

 Drawing and painting for her was like reading and writing for me. A pencil in her hand was like a magic wand, every stroke making the image in her head come alive and also cursing my joy of art.

 Over Spring Break, my friend and I were trying to think of fun craft projects for the weekend. I had an idea for a painting showing a scene from a story I am working on. And suddenly I found myself dipping my brush in paint and liking the results. In those moments, I was more curious to see what I could do instead of protecting myself from a potential failure. The desire to portray my story in another way was suddenly more important than my desire for perfection. For the first time, I did with painting what I have always done with writing; I allowed myself to listen, and then express what I heard.

 I did not know I was still mourning the loss of my art until I painted that weekend. As I mixed different hues of blues to create an ocean, I felt joy in the brush and healing wash over me, healing from a wound I didn't know I had.

 My sister can paint beautiful scenes, create people out of lines of shading. But so can I. My paintings may never look like hers, but when did it become about the quality instead of the joy?

 So this summer I think I will paint. I will paint with my sister on the back deck, asking her questions, getting her advice, watching her work. And I will paint alone to see what I can do. To feel that joy I thought I had lost. To heal.