Homesick

my boys in Petra

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years ago today that we left Amman, Jordan.   It feels like just yesterday sometimes, and at other times, it feels like so long ago.  We lived in Amman for 15 years, longer than I lived in any other city.   We raised our children there and made lifelong friends that were more like family and who we miss very much.   Amman felt like home to me and I left a part of my heart there when we left.

Homesickness is not always a vague, nostalgic, almost beautiful notion, although that is somehow the way we always seem to picture it in our mind.  It can be a terribly keen blade, not just a sickness in metaphor but in fact as well.  It can change the way one looks at the world….Homesickness is a real sickness – the ache of the uprooted plant.  Stephen King, The Breathing Method

Bethany’s Junior Senior Banquet    Jonathan’s baptism in the Jordan River

Josh and friends

Tennessee

This “uprooted plant” was transplanted in Knoxville, Tennessee.  I had never lived in the South before, so I experienced some culture shock.  Southern culture reminds me of Middle Eastern culture which made the adjustment a little easier.  One way is the importance of family.  Many “Knoxvillians” grew up here and their parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, and children live nearby. Like Arabs, much of their free time is spent with family.  Another way is that Southerners, (like Arabs) are very friendly and welcoming, yet it is hard to get close to them if you are not a local yourself.   There is also great importance placed on honor and shame.  Keeping up appearances and not bringing shame on your family are very important in both cultures.

I’ll be honest though – I never fully felt “at home” in Amman, and I doubt I will ever feel fully “at home” in America either.   Living as a “transplant” in Amman for so long has changed me.  I know many of my ex-pat friends feel the same way.  I think that this has helped me in understanding and embracing the reality that heaven really is my true home and this life is the journey to my final destination.

Mini Jordan Reunion

There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else…It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work…All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness.  The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it.  C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

I discovered what better saints than I have found before me:  The full enjoyment of God is my ultimate home, but I am still far off and only on the way.  John Piper, When I don’t Desire God

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6 Responses to Homesick

  1. Laura Barron says:

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful family photos and times and your feelings of homesickness. You are very special.

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  2. Susan says:

    Thanks Angie for sharing your feelings and homesickness…..I also get these twinges of missing past lives in past countries, Jordan was an especially good and thriving time in our lives too! Isn’t it good to have places to look back to and long for because they were such good places and good times?

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    • ahschupp says:

      Yes, it is good to be able to look back fondly on past places and times. I know you understand exactly what I meant in my post. thanks for your comment

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  3. Jolane Shaffer says:

    As you may remember, we lived in Europe around 22 yrs, and it’s still like going “home” when we return. A part of me will always remain there. All of our children graduated from high school there, etc. The picture you posted of “Welcome good and faithful servant” has long been one of my favourites. Good article. It’s nice to know someone else understands this feeling of longing for another place 🙂

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