I often battle with a bout of what I’d call “TCKness,” when I crave a home that doesn’t exist; when I feel restless where I’m at, though everything is seemingly fine…and when I’m longing to just fly somewhere else, far from where I am right now.
Though I’m here right now physically, a piece of my mind and my heart can be elsewhere.
A piece of it is left with people I love, who scatter across the country and around the globe. A piece is left with the people I’ve briefly had a chance to get to know, but sympathized or connected with, and I’m left with a longing to know them more. A piece is left at a place, or in an experience, a memory.
Traveling will do that to us—but not just traveling as a tourist, but when we’ve stayed long enough to have built a relationship with someone from that land, or long enough to have experienced their culture. When we’ve opened ourselves up to their world, and realize how much our world is not the world. When we’ve created memories there, laughed and cried there…tasted their spices and taken notes of the particular smells and sounds of that place.
A bout of “TCKness” feels weird sometimes, because I’m also passionate about being able to be fully where I’m at—to be able to dedicate my energy and my thoughts to the people in my surrounding community, and pour my heart into what I’ve committed to at this time.
Yet I’m not going keep quiet about the days I also think about where I can move on to, and reminisce where I’ve been, and think of the people and places I’m missing.
I’m realizing it’s ok for me to not feel ok sometimes, to want more than what I see right in front of me. When I have been stretched in a way, I may never go back to just the way that I was. I can’t “unsee” the things I’ve seen, desensitize myself from what I’ve learned and now know. It’s ok to have had our hearts stretched, to miss someone, to long to see and experience more–to sometimes have seasons of restlessness, and not just moments. Maybe these are the times that remind us not to become too apathetic, self-focused, too comfortable and complacent…and forget passions that stir our hearts, the creativity instilled in us, and the people all around the globe who are our neighbors and friends.
And though the pain is real, though I can’t immediately change the reality of where I’m at now, I know it is not the only reality. I believe in hope that is also just as real.
Hope keeps us from feeling defeated where we’re at. It’s like electrolytes for our souls, giving us a little boost, and replenishing so much that’s been lost in the lashes of daily life and struggles. But it also keeps us motivated for new seasons, new adventures. It keeps us focused on people we have yet to meet, and reconnecting and reconciling with the people we have once met. It drives us to search and crave for new ways to create, to use our brains, our words, our time, our energy.
The pain, the cravings, the longings, the restlessness—they are all real, and symptoms of having our hearts stretched in a way. They don’t have to be disregarded, Bandaided, sugar coated. Though we cannot see how any of it will play out, or find a quick remedy for how we feel, it’s ok to have the many days to acknowledge that, and still embrace gratitude and hope.
To be grateful for those experiences and people we’ve met that led to this stretched heart, grateful for the people and places I can experience right now, and grateful that I can also be hopeful. Hopeful for reconnecting with those people and places we have already experienced and love, hopeful for the people and places there is yet to experience, and hopeful for the many adventures that is yet to come.