Tuesday, July 3, 2012

the problem with wishing you were somewhere else

Almost every single year, for 20 years of marriage, we’ve gone to my home town in Wyoming to celebrate July 4, with its delightful small-town parade ending in fire truck wars over Fourth Street, always-the-same potato salad (which I don’t like except for the predictability of it), and wrapping in blankets on the front porch to oooooooh-aaaaaaaaah the fireworks.

But circumstances won’t let me go home this year.

I feel sad and have shed many little tears of homesickness.  (I’m 43.  Isn’t homesickness for kids at sleepovers and students away at college?)

Celebration ramps up here, and I’m not enjoying it.  Flags.  Stars-n-stripes t-shirts.  Occasional sparkler bombs at the neighbor’s house.  Shindig planned at friends. 

I just want to be in Wyoming. 

The problem with wishing I was somewhere else is that it steals all the joy away from being where I am.  Seth Godin, in Linchpin, calls it “nostalgia for the future” –this wishing for tomorrow to be something like it was in the past, except it’s not. 

Paul says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”  (Philippians 4:11  NIV)  This in his letter about joy –written from a prison cell. 

I need to school myself in contentment this morning.  As my heart stumbles around trying to find joy in the right here, I find solid footing in thankfulness. 

Thankful I have something to be homesick for.  Thankful for friends here.  Thankful for a reason to celebrate independence.   

Hard to be unhappy and thankful at the same time.

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