Sunday, April 17, 2011

Afraid to Go Home

We all have those moments from our childhood that we will never forget. I still clearly remember one of those days from third or fourth grade...

I had gone next door to see if my friend wanted to come outside to play and instead was asked to see the results of a recent shopping trip. I went inside knowing I shouldn't because my parents had a rule about not entering anyone else's house without their permission. I went inside thinking I would be done quickly and back home before my parents knew any better. Time slipped by faster than I had anticipated and I soon realized that when I got home I would probably be in trouble. At that point I had a choice to make...I could go home and face the consequences or I could continue to pretend everything was okay and postpone the inevitable. Of course, like most kids, I chose to stick around a little longer and by the time I got home my parents were more than a little upset =/ .
There is nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.
Home is the place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.
Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
The English lexicon is full of quotations and sayings about home: being home, leaving home, loving home, missing home. Home is one of those words that fills us with comfort and hope at what it stands for, even if you didn't get to experience it in actuality. Home is something we long for...unless there is something waiting for us that we don't want to experience (in the case of my childhood-self, the punishment for disobedience).

Living so far away from all that I know best provides many opportunities for homesickness. The end of each school year and the beginning of each break is met with the urgent desire to return home

But the last few weeks I've experienced a feeling I've never experienced before...a fear of going home. 

Last year my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, you may have read about that here or here. A cancer of the blood that causes anemia and severely weakens the bones. We knew when he was diagnosed that there would be no cure. That the most we could hope for was a treatment that would slow the progression of the cancer and ease any pain he experienced. The chemo made him sick and it was quickly decided that the benefits weren't worth the suffering.
Being so far away has provided a distance from whole situation (I recently referred to it as my 600-mile buffer). I haven't been around to watch the slow progression from the energetic, unstoppable man of my memories to the mere shadow that now exists.

Staying away made it easier to pretend that one of the people I love most in this world is not slipping into the next. Staying away was easier on me. Staying away was giving into the fear.

There is a book I have shared with each of my classes for the last three years in which the main character is told that the best choice is the one of love and the worst one is the one of fear.

Seeing the tears in my grandfather's eyes yesterday and smile on his face confirmed that I made the right was time to come home.

1 comment:

  1. We are praying, and love you and your family soo much. Know it is difficult.