Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Homesick

In my strange and mysterious journey of grief I’ve stumbled into something, an odd and most unwelcome emotion, hard to cope with and even more difficult to understand. I can only describe this feeling as homesickness. I’ve shared this before but it feels like I did as a boy when I was spending the night at a friend’s home and it began to get dark. I wanted to be near my home; I was anxious to be with the people I loved and who loved me.
The crazy thing is that the feeling now comes in familiar places—places I love to visit, places in which I live—which makes this emotion most perplexing, because home was always the solution to my homesickness. At these dark moments there truly seems to be no cure. That is when despair settles in for the night.
The saying goes, "Home is where the heart is." So what does that say about where my heart is? My heart is gone and I cannot get it back. Everything in my life seems odd and strange. I’m sure I face this feeling of homesickness because my heart is wounded and disoriented. It doesn’t know where true north is. It doesn’t know where home is.
Loneliness is a form of dying. We’re dying to old comforts, and even familiar places are strange without the one our hearts loved and learned to depend on. My homesickness is for a person who made my heart at ease regardless of where we were. Now, no matter where I am, that ease is missing.
I think this isn’t a sign of sickness but rather of health. It’s painful but it’s also reality, and facing reality is healthy. Loneliness is one form of dying that we all must face at some point in our lives. I’m trying hard to face my loneliness in a way that honors God and makes the most of my condition. I want badly to bemoan my condition, but that doesn’t seem to make much difference or glorify God. I can at least rejoice that God isn’t wasting my homesickness but is using it to fertilize the garden of my life. It’s in this painful emotional state that God's Spirit works for my good and His glory to mix all things together for good. This I trust.
In God's economy the seed dies and starts a new beginning of life, growth and hope. Whether it’s the making of a flower or the human soul, God does not and will not waste our sorrow, grief and loneliness. Our losses are God's way of accomplishing the gains. I’m still homesick, but not without hope. My heart has to learn to find its rest in the Lord alone, and in Him I find my hope, my peace. I wish for someone I could know in the most intimate way, but even if that never happens again, He is enough. Jesus is enough.

Ed Litton

4 comments:

Andy said...

Ed, sometimes I wonder as I read your profound reflections if somehow you have been brutally fast-forwarded to realities that all of us ultimately have to face in a fallen, time-bound world. Though you didn't ask to be a pioneer or trailblazer, and no one who knows you or your ministry would ask it of you, you are being faithful to scout and report the view we all will ultimately have - that God has set eternity in our hearts. This time-bound, space-bound rock can only go so far. And the people who make our hearts at ease here can never do that forever.

Thanks again for another amazing, soul-nourishing insight.

Andy Wood
www.lifevesting.com

Anonymous said...

There is a silent grief that is unspoken by many victims who know all to well the grief you are experiencing. For that select group, you are helping those who can't vent or cry out loud to anyone for help because of the shame. And to hear you describe in such detail the pain, loneliness, feeling lost in the familiar places and even in your everyday life, yearning to go back to before the intruder set the snare, is the same experience of the victims of adultery.

Yes, you are showing people how to grieve for their loved ones lost to eternity, but you are also, knitting into the tapestry of pain and grief of having your spouse stolen by the enemy and his fools. Pastor Ed, your grief is not in vain. You need to know that this group of people now have a voice in and through your pain. You are someone who can now understand and relate to and for all those who can't. Some marriages are saved and some are not, either way, they all regret forever the intrusion into their lives and marriages, and the scars left behind as reminders. It is a memory you wish you never had.

Pastor Ed, as you travel this road of grief, you will travel further away from the pain, and one day you will feel guilty for not feeling it as strong as you once did. But then you will, in a weird way, want THAT pain back, because of what it was attached to. But it too will fade, and will only be a memory. When you arrive at that place you will then know that you are totally resting in the peace of God and what you regret will feel more like a splinter in your foot, instead of a log going through your heart. You will live wholly again. And the memory of how precious God was as he brought you through and kept you from caving in, will far outweigh the pain that you think, NOW, will never go away. But it takes time.

You know to wait on the Lord, and you will soar again like eagles.

As for NOW, trust God as He lets you live WITH the pain, it is refining you to come forth as gold. By God's grace, you will smile again. God Bless You.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed,

I have thought since the first few weeks after you began posting your thoughts that these blogs could be easily bound into a book for grieving people everywhere. I believe that now more than ever. You are so loved and prayed for. If I could have any pastor in this world IT WOULD BE YOU. We love you so much, Teresa & Tom

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed,
I agree with Teresa & Tom whole-heartedly! You are an awesome Spiritual Leader!!! Thank you and God Bless you. Becky & Fred