As we approach this holiday season, many of us are heading home to celebrate; for some, this is our first time coming home since summer break. The first homecoming can be an especially strange experience during freshman year. I remember vividly the first time I returned to Florida after I started college. It was late, I had been traveling for hours. But when I got home, everything felt—wrong. Nothing was quite as I remembered it. People were older, my littlest sister could talk, and chairs were smaller (to that last point—apparently I just grew an inch during that first semester).
We grow so much, in all aspects of our life, during our time away from home. And yet we long to return to that comforting place of our memory, the place of our childhood. But this place is impossible to recover. Our homes change as siblings grow up, renovations happen, and people move away. Time affects everything, and our home no longer exists quite as we remember it.
These changes can bring the uncomfortable and unexpected feeling of displacement as we arrive home. It may be most dramatic the first time, as a freshman, but every time we come home brings similar emotions. This feeling of displacement can lead to a crisis. After all, if we don’t “fit” at home, where do we possibly go?
Our Lord leaves ninety-nine sheep to rescue just one—how much more will he fly to you in these troubles! He has answered this longing of our hearts and established an eternal home for us, one where there will be no more tears. Our feelings of displacement serve only to remind us that we were made for that great eternal home, not our earthly one.
We have a taste of this home at every Holy Communion. Our God humbles himself into a small piece of bread so that he can be one with us, and we may be one with Him. At this moment, the entire company of saints and angels rejoices, welcoming us into their arms. Our mother is there, having made her journey before us at her Assumption. We belong with Him, and our union with Him in the Eucharist prepares us for the everlasting union of Heaven. And at our death, we shall say with C. S. Lewis’s Emeth in The Last Battle, “I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.”
If you are struggling with feelings of displacement during this holiday season, run to the Eucharist. He is waiting for you. Thank Him and rejoice, for you were made for a home greater than you can ever imagine.