Transitioning into life on the farm has been easier than I anticipated. The wide open spaces, peace, and slower pace of life have been really good for me. I’m enjoying getting to know Rick’s friends and family, his church, and all his favorite things. He has good friends, a wonderful family, and a welcoming church. The warmth and welcome I’ve been extended have been a treasure to me.
So the other night when we walked into a local restaurant for dinner, I was nearly knocked over by the unexpected sense of homesickness that hit me. There was a church meeting in the restaurant’s banquet room and they were playing praise and worship music LOUD. The worship leader had such a good voice and handled the transitions so smoothly that it took me about fifteen minutes to realize the music I was hearing wasn’t a recording. The songs were familiar, ones we sang regularly at the Sunday evening service in Nashville. My heart squeezed tight and it was everything I could do to keep from crying right there. I didn’t want to eat; I just wanted to join them.
My husband grew up in a small, Mennonite church that’s only about five miles from his house. It’s a good church and I’ve been enjoying the services. I recently discovered that one branch of my family tree actually started the church. Many of the members are relatives and they’ve been friendly and kind. But it’s one more thing in my new life that’s entirely different from what I’m accustomed to. In Nashville, I attended a very large church with an incredible music program. We sang a few hymns here and there, incorporating the new with the traditional, but most of the music was upbeat and passionate. It wasn’t a perfect church, but I loved it. I didn’t realize how much I would miss it.
My new church incorporates different styles of worship into their morning services and if there’s anything Mennonites traditionally know how to do, it’s sing. I thoroughly enjoy hearing the harmonies as a cappella voices join together to praise the Lord. The church also has a monthly praise and worship service, devoted almost entirely to music. The leader has a great voice and a heart for worship. Everyone brings food and eats together afterwards in the fellowship hall. (In Nashville, we went to Chili’s.) We went to the last one and enjoyed it, but it isn’t home yet and my heart ached for the familiar. During the service everything hit me at once… I miss my friends! I miss my church! I miss the familiarity of my old life. I started crying and couldn’t stop, wanting to crawl under the pew in embarrassment.
And yet, I wouldn’t trade my new life here for anything. A friend recently wrote me a little message, reminding me that it’s okay to be sad. Feeling sad doesn’t mean you’re not also happy. Missing the familiar doesn’t mean the new isn’t good. So I allowed myself to mourn the loss of my church and the familiar.
Since then I’ve been listening to praise and worship music at the house, while I’m working in the kitchen or sweeping the floors. It feeds my soul and helps me feel connected to God. I need to express my thanks and praise to Him and alone in my house I am free to do so. It amazes me that of all the things that could cause me to feel the sting of homesickness so sharply, it’s music that did it.