We are the sum total of our stories.
So when we sit down at the computer and open a vein we offer life to someone else. We pour out what we’ve learned or failed to learn as a lifeline to someone else.
We offer our stories across computer screens, transfusion-like.
On Wednesday morning I re-live the same story I’ve lived a hundred times in a hundred different airports. There’s the familiar waiting, the knot in stomach, the worrying I’m at the wrong gate. There’s the anticipation and the flutters every time the automatic doors open and the aching, bursting excitement.
A mom comes through with three kids. They are all just years older than my own three. They come through at a flat run. I look from them over to the crowd; I want to see if I can spot who they’re running toward before they arrive.
Light is pouring out of her, that smile so wide it cracks open the seams of Dulles airport. White, white hair and a body made for story time and chocolate chip cookies. She’s standing still but she’s running just as hard at they are.
I always cry at airports.
We share our stories because they lifeline remind us that we’re all created out of the threads of the same story.
The tiles are dirty white same as in South Africa, Guatemala, Ukraine. Airport tiles. Time loses all meaning in between departure and arrival gates. We simply wait. We suspend. We remember how little control we have over anything.
When you whisper into my inbox how you stole a year from “real life” to go home and raise your grand daughter my story stands up and screams applause at yours.
Time is wasted on airports. People simply are. They are angry or frustrated or desperately sad or whole. They are the realest versions of themselves when they are holding desperately to the people they love. We were never made for good-bye.
This is my boring, ordinary, sacred story.
I missed their wedding in November.
I watch the door open and close and open again with each new group of people who aren’t them.
He is my little brother who was always like my big brother and I’m so relieved I’m on time to meet him and his new-I’ve-known-her-forever wife. I’m usually late. He knows that. How many arrivals have seen me rushing to the gate and him already sitting on a chair waiting for me. Not today; today I am waiting. If you’re waiting in an airport you’re on time.
I’m on time.
And when I see him the time between then and now unravels and I know he knows. This is how it feels to live in the in between. All those missed nephews and first neices, missed dedications and Tae Kwon Do lessons, missed birthdays, missed engagements, missed houses and moves and churches and opening nights and padkos, cross-country, Karoo nights.
When the doors slide open it’s all washed away.
And I’m there hugging his tall body and holding onto his hand. She’s my sister now and not just my friend.
For ten days we will get to live in real time again.
Tonight I write for all the homesick. Because sometimes home comes to us.
All we have to do is open our arms wide and welcome it.
Thanks for writing this for a wife, mom, grandma, daughter who is homesick tonight:)
Sitting half a world away from family on this the 2nd anniversary of my granpdpa’s passing, I’m in tears ad once again your words are both balm and buoy.
Lisa-Jo this is beautifully written – as always! I hope you have a wonderful visit with your brother and “his new-I’ve-known-her-forever wife!”
This email made me tearful and happy all at once. Beautiful photos of your beautiful family. Your son reminds me so much of my own! I just travelled through 2 airports for quite different reasons ~ my 5 year old daughter needs proton radiation treatment in Boston, but your lovely reminder will have me looking for the love that God pours out on the homeward journey. I can’t wait for our own “arrival” home and the welcome arms that will be there to greet us. Enjoy this precious time with brother and now sister :-)
Oh Kate, you are the bravest of moms. The moms who watch over sick kids. Praying you are filled with light and carried home on the arms of those who love and watch over you both. May home and welcome and peace and healing be words that lift you this week.
Thank you Lisa-Jo! Not brave – just praying without ceasing! God is so good – He fills me with His peace and strength. Alone I wouldn’t be surviving any of this. His love for us is so very deep – I glean an understanding of the unmeasurable and unfathomable depths to which he cares about every detail of our lives. Even your 5 minute Friday prompts during this journey have made me smile wryly – empty, brave, gift and light led me quite the merry dance from one place to another – thank you!
Have a great time with your family! I missed my brother’s wedding due to being a 1000 miles away and on bedrest. It’s hard but makes it so important to enjoy the real time we have all have together.
Your posts are so true, and uplifting! Love the pictures. Have a blessed day!
You and your SIL look related. Like blood-related. Love that. :)
This relatively-new missionary mom says thank you.
so true! was just discussing with my family (who have always lived half a world away) how maybe all the missing makes the time together all the more sacred? every minute together is realized as a gift. enjoy!
“We were never made for good-bye.” I have been homesick in one way or another since my family left our home in Iowa to make a new home in British Columbia. Now it’s the 1200 miles between me and my BC home where my parents and youngest brother still live. I love this Lisa-Jo! Have a marvelous time!!
This is simply beautiful. My eyes sting. Thank you for sharing your stories.
Oh my, I could feel the tears rising up just reading this…
Airports are filled with such emotions of joy and saddness! Watching a mother and daughther reunite after a long absence…joy! Watching to precious friends clinging to one another crying, trying to be brave but knowing the time between visits is always too long.
…yes I cry at airports too…
Lisa-Jo, tears, cheers. I wasn’t sure which should come first so they kind of tumbled out together. Surely my story is richer tonight for reading yours. And the picture of the cherry blossom kiss… well need I say more? Love your heart my friend!
Cherry blossoms and Jacarandas – the trees of the two continents that hold my heart!
You are looking at the queen of homesickness. Left college smack dab in the middle on the year because I cried every day from the moment my family moved away. I have been blessed to live near my family and appreciate the reminder to not take for grantid what so many dream of.
Oh, enjoy this fabulous time! What joy!
Dear Lisa Jo & family,
Thank you Lord for setting me free.
Free to play with,
all that you have given me through strangers and family.
And free, as well,
to give it back
I simply love you, friend who smiles beautifully in Dulles, in Guatemala, in DFW and all places in between…
Heart bursting with you these 10 days….
So Excited for you. Hugs to you all, Any family of yours, is an internet family of mine! =)
Oh, how this resonates. So lovely. The photo of your son holding on tight to your brother brought a tear. As clergy, my husband and I have moved 8 times in 22 years of marriage, living only eight of those years near family. And it is so true, how sometimes home comes to you and you just embrace it, accept things for how they are. Enjoy every glorious moment of ten days Lisa-Jo.
I never truly knew homesick until being away from my children. I thought I did, but I didn’t.
This is beautifully written. As usual, you have created a masterpiece evoking all sorts of feelings.
Thank you, friend.
you radiate joy.
Thank you for this meaningful post. Being 1000+ miles from our families, I can relate on so many levels. I think of all the missed moments and tears at the airports, but I also think of all the times my daughter ran into the arms of her grandparents and me seeing friends I haven’t seen in years walking across the airport lobby to hug me. This homesick momma thanks you for you words, stories, and messages!
And in Woollies shorts too!
Have a fantastic time with your family!
So very homesick tonight, friend. This made me smile. Thanks.
They should name terminals after us. Or maybe we should name or kids nicknames like “Gate B” :)
Thank you so much for sharing Josh and Meegs with us for a few days! My eyes filled with tears to see Josh and my hubby embrace after (we estimated) 6 years! He was grinning all day Sunday and told me that Saturday was one of the best days he has had in a while. We loved reconnecting but we know that it was a sacrifice for you….thank you!
And I am glad to see from your pictures that Meegs has her Ben and Jerry’s (she’s so great, isn’t she?).
Oh Jane, I’m so so thrilled they got to be with you guys. I know it meant the world to them and was a kind of special homecoming for Joshua. And yes, Meegs is the best sister I could ask for and a gift to us all!!
Oh yes, homesick indeed. 2 years ago we moved across the country with our 19 month old son (who was the first and only grandchild on both sides) in order for my hubby to do his flight training. Now he’s 3.5 and joined by a 21 month old sister and baby #3 on the way, due in 9-ish weeks. These two years have been, uh… rough, to say the least. I’ve been longing to move back, wishing that it would happen, but knowing in my heart that it probably won’t anytime soon. The happy in it all for right now is just knowing that my parents and then hubby’s parents are coming to visit when the baby is born… and like you said… sometimes home comes to us. So looking forward to that!
Yes, that is a gift. Family when new family arrives. Blessings on every beautiful minute!
I am choking back tears now.
Thank you for this!
Yes, I know you know. It’s the hard love, isn’t it?
Ah, you made me teary. For growing up like this and facing it again, leaving and raising my kids on the other side of the world from my brother that has always seemed older than me…. and the rest of the clan.
Oh for heaven, where everyone is always next door!
I so get this married cross-culturally, living in his culture, working with his culture, speaking his language… i missed one of my best friend’s weddings. my 6 nieces and nephews don’t really know their aunt. my homesickness is different. before i was a worker overseas and i didn’t really get homesickness. being married to the culture and having left one life almost completely for another- my homesickness gets me in my gut in strange ways at awkward moments. thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing. Homesicknes is the funniest thing because every time you move you have more people to be homesick for. Nothing competes with family though, of course. Thanks for your post. I’m inspired by the person you quoted who’s taking a year off from real life, and still holding onto a tiny hope that in a couple years I will be able to “go home” for a summer with my daughter.