Homesickness…But for What and Where?


Dear Reader:

When I came across these few lines of prose (below)….I stopped because I understood perfectly what the little boy is feeling and how hard it is to explain to others. After you read it…think about your own feelings of homesickness that can occur even when you are home.


When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother’s piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I’ve never understood
Why this is so

But there’s an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

~Anne Porter “Music” from Living Things. © Zoland Books, 2006.


Isn’t that beautiful? C.S. Lewis tried to explain the word “monochopsis” in his own way with this now notable quote.

“If I find in myself longings which nothing in this world can satisfy or heal, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

I remember telling you readers, in a couple of earlier posts, about my “chronic” problem with homesickness (that I suffered from) throughout my childhood. At the time I thought it was more about the fear of losing mother and not having a parent but now I realize that this persistent “homesickness” was bigger than that.

The most common time for it to hit was twilight…just as the sun was setting. It is the time when the (especially in the summer and I was at camp writing mother) the “crickets are ‘a’cricketing” and I am “a-crying.” I was listening to the crickets, the grasshoppers, the whip-poor-wills, and katydids, just to name a few.

Twilight time at camp was also when we convened for Vespers and sang several spirituals and camp songs that seemed familiar to me from another time and space. We would all hold hands but I would have to keep letting go of a fellow camper’s hand to wipe my eyes.

Looking back on this time, now, as an adult, I realize that once I got back home…these same feelings of homesickness persisted about the same time each evening…I really felt homesick for some place that I had been once before… but I was now lost and wandering trying to get back.

Like C.S. Lewis I yearn for another world that I catch glimpses of for a few shimmering moments at intervals in my life. John Cheever thinks that homesickness is the search within ourselves… with these words:

“Fifty percent of the people in the world are homesick all the time. You don’t really long for another country. You long for something in yourself that you don’t have, or haven’t been able to find.” 

*img_4143-1The last two or three times little Eva Cate has come to spend the night with me she has gotten homesick. She would never call it that…but just about twilight she starts getting a tummy ache…it doesn’t seem to matter what she has eaten or not eaten…the tummy ache lasts until it is dark and we are watching movies or playing games and it disappears as quickly and quietly as it came.

She doesn’t like to be outside during twilight…she wants me to check and make sure everything is locked up which I assure her it is. One day Eva Cate will realize that her “tummy ache” was a different kind of ache…a longing to return to a place where she was unconditionally loved and never lost. But for right now…a piece of peppermint candy and a funny movie does the trick.

Jeremiah 1: 5  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

So until tomorrow…The next time you get homesick think about if you are listening to music, man’s or nature’s, and is the melody taking you back to a home, a world, that you once knew but have forgotten since birth?

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

img_0397Guess  who just recently got adopted by Anne…part-lab, springer spaniel…Nala! I wanted to give you a sneak peek…more to come in tomorrow’s blog… from her welcome home party.

* Jan Hilton: “I think that my word for this year will be patience. I need to be patient with those things that I cannot control and look to the good Lord above to take control!”  (I think we can all agree that this is a good word for all of us!)

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to Homesickness…But for What and Where?

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Becky…what wonderful thoughts that help explain lifelong feelings…I can remember so many similar incidents as a child and later as an adult where I had an empty feeling…longing for something or someone…now that you have enlightened us I will look forward to these feelings as a hint of eternity…being back where we began…full circle…on the same note I can remember when we would go home before Daddy died I would see him staring off as if he were in an another time and place… as if he were putting distance between us…looking back I think that he knew his earthly time was coming to an end…

    Hope to see you soon…we need a little adventure…still healing. ..still have stitches but hopefully it won’t be too much longer…

    On Jan 26, 2017 6:05 AM, “Chapel of Hope Stories” wrote:

    > Becky Dingle posted: ” Dear Reader: When I came across these few lines of > prose (below)….I stopped because I understood perfectly what the little > boy is feeling and how hard it is to explain to others. After you read > it…think about your own feelings of homesickness t” >


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