Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Longing for our true home

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published May 2, 2021

When I was growing up, I was so attached to my mother that I refused to go away to summer camp, because I knew how much I’d miss her.

Nothing was more terrifying than losing sight of my mother in a crowd. Being separated from her as we boarded the subway was an ongoing fear: “Hold my hand!” she warned. 

There was never a childhood home for my sister and myself, because my parents moved from New York to Florida, then back to New York—and then back to Florida. I missed the friends I left behind, so an uneasy homesickness pervaded my childhood days.

But that homesickness later gave me a glimpse into the deeper longing that stalks our lives. We may try to drown out that feeling by travel and achievements like running marathons, swimming laps, chasing promotions at work.

Perhaps we run more miles today than we did last week, and although this is an achievement, there’s still this longing for the next thing.

An old Peggy Lee song asked the poignant question: “Is that all there is?” The lyrics are about someone disillusioned with the events of life that are supposed to be exciting. “I had the feeling that something was missing.”

Since the beginning of time wise men and women have asked the same questions. What is missing? Is there something more than this world?

Sometimes grief feels like homesickness, because we long for that missing face across the dinner table, the hug after a difficult day, the voice imbedded in our dreams.

A poem by Tolkien hints at homesickness for another realm. “Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate. And though I oft have passed them by, the day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run West of the Moon and East of the Sun.”

When God decided to come to earth, he made his home with Joseph and Mary. As a grown man, he visited the home of Mary and Martha, dined at the home of the Pharisee and entered the dwelling of the man whose little girl had died.

He himself, however, didn’t have an earthly home: “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

The final act of love Jesus showed his mother was entrusting her care to John, who took her into his home. She had remained true to Jesus until the very end, standing beneath the cross, even when others had left him.

He makes a promise to everyone who remains true to him until the end. “My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

And when he comes back for us, we will no longer feel homesick for the people and places we miss. We will finally know the answer to the question, “Is that all there is?” 

In fact, there is so much more. “I will see you again,” Jesus promised, “and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”

Down hidden paths that lie west of the moon and east of the sun, we will one day find our true home. We will no longer be lost in the crowd.

Jesus will take our hand and lead us to the place where there will be no more crying, no more sighing and every tear will be wiped away.

Artwork is an oil painting by Lorraine’s late husband, Jef ( Lorraine’s email address is