Birmingham, AL , September, 2016

“Displaced souls roam every city in every country.” – Ilana Manaster, One of the Crowd, Real Simple – 2017

I know what it feels like to be a displaced soul. I felt pretty much like that the whole six years we lived in Birmingham. It was a beautiful place, but it was never home. I don’t mean to dishonor Chuck when I say that, because where he was, that was home for me. But, I think he felt the same way. We both felt uprooted.

Now I’m “home”, but he’s not here, and once again I don’t quite feel at home. But it’s different, because I do have family here, and numerous friends. I’m in the town where I grew up. It’s changed a lot, but still familiar. The Maxwell House Coffee drifting across the St. Johns River smells the same. The ocean, though constantly changing, is the same. I can still drive by my childhood home and my high school.

So now, as I prepare to move for the third time in less than a year, I think about how to put down roots in Tampa. God willing, I won’t move again. I long to live there and serve God to the end of my days. To make a home for my family, my friends, and other sojourners, for I have to remind myself that, ultimately, I’m just a sojourner on this earth.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. Hebrews 11:13-14


“But to mourn, that’s different. To mourn is to be eaten alive with homesickness for the person.   -Will, from Cold Sassy Tree by  Olive Ann Burns

I’d never thought before about being homesick for a person, but it is an excellent description. That ache in your belly when you feel you are in a strange place. The rootlessness of feeling alone. The longing for something you can’t quite put your finger on, yet it’s everything.

“Homesickness has to do with attachment,” says Dr. Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We’re longing for something that in our minds is known, predictable, consistent and stable.” The same for grieving – I am longing for that person I knew, that person who was consistent in my life.

Tamar Chansky, a psychologist and author talks about homesickness in a way that is very similar to much I’ve read about grieving. “…it’s about not yet feeling comfortable where you are… at first we feel like the discomfort we’re experiencing is a forever thing…tell yourself it’s OK and normal to feel this way…”

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be Still, My Soul by Katharina A. von Schlegel, 1752, such a lovely hymn. Take a listen.