RoadTripI’m home! After three weeks on the road with my family exploring the West Coast, we’re finally back to the old homestead and I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong. I love to travel. I love seeing new places and having new experiences. But, for some reason, this year I was actually homesick while we were vacationing.

Perhaps it was because we were gone so long, although last year we traveled for four weeks. Perhaps it was because we had taken this trip last year and the “newness” had worn off. Perhaps it was because my children weren’t as enthusiastic as they had been. Perhaps it had nothing to do with any of those reasons. Nevertheless, I was homesick.

In many ways my homesickness reminded me of college. You see, like a lot of college students, I had put my faith on the back burner when I went off to school. Sure, I still identified myself as Catholic but getting to Mass regularly was not at the top of my list. At the time, I was dating someone who wasn’t Catholic and he planted many seeds of doubt in my mind. This was way before Google so many of my questions just went unanswered.

But I wasn’t really happy in college. I had friends. I went out on the weekends. I studied (a bit). But there was something missing that made me feel restless and searching. I was trying to find my place but I didn’t know where to look.
Then, one weekend, I thought it was about time for me to go to Mass. I checked the Catholic Student Center’s Mass times, noted the Mass time I thought I wouldn’t sleep through, and made plans to attend. Sunday came around and, surprisingly, I actually followed through with my intention.
I’ll never really forget the feeling I experienced that day even though I’ve forgotten many of the other details about the “when” and the “where”. I just remember feeling a sense of relief as if someone told me that I could breathe after holding my breath for what seemed like a long time. This was where I belonged. This was home.

I’d like to tell you that after that experience I became the model Catholic and became active in the college ministry. Not quite. My journey still had (and has) many more twists and turns to it than that. But, just like our travels this summer, leaving home helped me appreciate it even more.

What about you? Were you ever “homesick” for the Church?

Copyright 2014 Laura Nelson