Being back in Virginia is wonderful and difficult all at once. This Christmas is the longest Jim and I have spent back in our home towns, where our family is down the street and you have the ability to drop in and visit. It’s wonderful because this time is so rich – to catch up with family and friends you haven’t seen in for a long while, but difficult because everything is different than how you remembered it. Just because you leave doesn’t mean things stop while you’re gone – and that would be silly of me to think that it would. But when you visualize home and relationships vs the reality of it all when you make it back, reality is people and places change! And change can be so healthy and good! But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. I remember experiencing all these emotions when I was in college and would come home for breaks. All these little changes left me confused and wondering where my place is in all of it – my sociology professors referred to this experience as anomie: a sense of “normlessness”. What are my roles now, where do I belong in this picture, etc. Needless to say, I’ve experienced anomie these past couple of years: college, being newly married, moving multiple times, it was a constant state of change. For a person of rituals and routine, it was hard for me to find my place when my environment is constantly changing and my own role is constantly transforming. I had to adapt with it all.
It is so wonderful to be with my family, the people who know me best and have loved me through all of life’s changes, and it hurts my heart to think about leaving. My little niece will continue to grow and her personality and physical characteristics will change (drastically, in my opinion, since she’s only a little over one years old!), my siblings will continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge through all of life’s experiences, my parents will continue to enjoy being grandparents but go back to being empty nesters once my little brothers head back to Covenant College for another semester. But I’m leaving home to go back home, and I’m continually changing and growing, too. And there is sanctification and beauty in the growing pains: in family relationships, in our marriage, in our friendships (old and new). Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t good – sanctification can be a painful process, but there can be beauty only made visible through the change, through the growing pains.