The Lie of Nostalgia, The Truth of Home

We’ve been traveling a lot lately—following the West Coast heat wave it would seem.  We left San Luis Obispo, California for Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 30th. On the way from SLO, CA, we stopped in Reno to see my mom and then in Boise to see my sister and her kids. We made it back to Coeur d’Alene just in time to jump in the lake on the fourth of July. Long trip.

We’re here for the month. Soon we’ll be making the Great Drive to Rochester, New York where I’m certain our car will explode in protest.

I apologize for the lack of posts, but you know how travel goes. Moving. Yawning. Sunflower seeds. Gum on the seat. Wishing you were home—wherever and whatever home is.

It’s an interesting subject, home; I’ve been thinking a lot about it.

For a long time I confused nostalgia with home. I assumed they were one in the same. I know now they’re not. And while it’s true that one springs from the other—like a seed from a tree or a son from a father—I’ve found that the two are quite separate, quite different.

Nostalgia is a dream. It’s a desire, sometimes sweet but usually bitter. A little nostalgia can go a long way and I believe it’s healthy in this dosage. Quickly though, nostalgia can consume and take root. It’s good to know the difference.

These last six months in California have shown me the difference between nostalgia and home. I always assumed California was my home—the city I grew up in, the town where every street, side-street, and park had a memory—but that wasn’t the case. California is not my home. It’s just a place, a place I once lived. And just like her burritos, California bursts at the seem, overfilled with people I love and places I’d be happy to die in.

But this is not home. It’s just a place.

The few years of marriage have taught me the truth of what home is. My wife is my home. Not any one place in particular, just her. I think home can be a place for some people, but not me. When I’m away from her I’m not myself, nor am I home. It’s just the way it is. Home is her.

Wherever we go we’ll be home—even in Rochester, even without furniture—and I’m excited about that.

Epilogue

I’m working on a blog post for next week and I’m really excited about it. It’s more in the vein of what I usually write. Before I jump back in to the blogosphere, though, it seemed wise to explain my absence and also reflect on what the last couple weeks have taught me.

Thanks for being patient. Stay tuned.

PS: I have a new page on my website. It’s called Top 5 Music, Movies, and Books. Give it a gander and let me know what you think.

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6 comments

  1. I think it was Groucho that said “Home is where I hang my head.”
    For me as an MK, home has always been a slippery concept. Getting reacquainted with Medellín, where I spent most of my childhood, has been like coming home, even though there is no longer a family house here. My wife and I have very quickly come to feel at home in Tampa, where we moved last fall when we got married. Dallas ceased to feel like home before I left there, even though my kids are there.

  2. “For a long time I confused nostalgia with home.”
    Um, that is powerful…I think I’m going to need to contemplate this more. It really hit a nerve for me!

  3. Speaking not only as an MK, but also as a missionary myself who is also doing a good bit of traveling, I sympathize with your struggle and also echo your feelings about your wife being your home. I would definitely go crazy if not for my wife! But I think there is something even greater and grander we have to look forward to. Everything that makes me feel “at home” here is only a shadow of what it will be like there, and I am so excited to go there!

    “13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

    Hebrews 11:13-16

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