Today's one of those days. Despite the seventytwo degrees and the sunshine there's a reslessness in my soul. It's been brewing for quite a while now. It's so unlike me. I've been starting projects and then leaving them undone (which really drives me insane). This blog has been one of the victims of my malaise. Fired up - write - discouragement - stop.
One moment I'm smiling and the next I'm in tears. Honed in and then suddenly distracted. Loving the hubbub of my new city and the next day wanting to be a hermit. I've been struggling through and puzzling over this unrest for months now. Truth be told, I think it's getting worse instead of better. What am I feeling? Am I the only one feeling this? How long is this going to last? Then, it hit me.
I've been stuggling through the "what ifs and if onlys."
I have a fairly good vocabulary and tend to be a word geek. So when one of my friends would post a little-known word on her Facebook page every day, I was sucked in. One of her words has stuck with me. It's Hiraeth
Hiraeth is a Welsh word that has is no direct English translation or definition. Sometimes English leaves a lot to be desired. Hiraeth is more of a feeling than a word. Oxford and Merriam-Webster define Hiraeth as: (noun) "a homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or that never was." An author on BBC Wales says, "You feel hiraeth, which is a longing of the soul to come home to be safe."
Tim Davis has devoted an entire poem which attempts to describe hiraeth. One of the stanzas states:
Hiraeth beckons with wordless call,
Hear, my soul, with heart enthrall'd.
Hiraeth whispers while earth I roam;
Here I wait the call "come home."
That's it! I remember the first time I felt it. Colorado. When we first arrived, I felt like I had lived there all my life. My soul and spirit witnessed that this was home. The clean air, towering mountains, yellow quaking aspens, the solitude. My spirit said, "YES!" When we left, I cried all the way back home. Hiraeth.
The next time I remember it kicking me in the gut was when my dad passed away. Gut wrenching grief? Yes. But, more than that was a feeling that I never really knew him. I wanted to go back to those times he was silent and seemed so sad to talk to him eyeball to eyeball. I wanted to know what happened to make him so removed and get to know him. Back HOME.
Next? Before our relocation, we left our church. It was our church. We were vital members there for fifteen years. Volunteers, choir members, leaders, teachers, staff members. We left. I won't go into details. Suffice it to say there were many reasons - big reasons - reasons that we had no control over. I had know these people for almost a third of my life. When we left I didn't realize we were also leaving our community. Com - with; unity - together. When we left our church, it didn't suffer. No, it went on with business. People I thought were friends silently disappeared.
No phone calls, no contact via Facebook, no visitors, diverted eyes when an impromptu run-in in the grocery. Business as usual. But my
world had changed greatly. I felt that my spiritual family and home had abandoned me. Maybe a piece of hiraeth is desiring to find out that there is no replacement for you. I've worked through the anger, grief, disappointment. What remains deep in my soul - buried most of the time - is hiraeth. What I thought I had wasn't even there. The place my spirit and soul felt most alive, useful and needed had disappeared.
What I've been struggling through for the last months. Why? We purchased a fixer-upper and relocated almost a year and a half ago. Now that the house is almost done, I have more time on my hands. Time to admit that my soul feels empty.
Maybe I won't feel at home again until I get home. 1 Peter 2:9 says that we are a peculiar people. Chapter 2, verse 11 calls us wayfarers and foreigners. Maybe I'm not supposed to feel at home here. Maybe I'm supposed to feel peculiar and wayfaring.
It's not that I don't know what my purpose is. I do. It's getting past the emptiness to even care about it. At this point it looks like I have two choices: I can be miserable until I do get home OR I can focus on what my calling is. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says that He (God) will comfort us in all our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction. Hopefully, realizing that the emptiness is partially due to hiraeth is going to help me feel like the wayfarer I am and not like an outcast.