I'm starting to get that slight feeling of homesickness and last year it hit me like a truck so and I am determined to not have it hit me as hard this time around. The fact that I live in an apartment, have a kitchen, can cook homemade meals, and have my own space really helps but, I still feel like being at school isn't as 'homey' as I would like for it to be.
I know that part of this comes from my environment. I need a few more pictures in my apartment or maybe the next time I go home, I need to bring back a few more personal items. Whatever it may be, I know this slight feeling of homesickness will pass. One of the main things that has helped me feel at home has been going to church. It was really tough for me to get to church every week over the summer. I worked almost every single Saturday and Sunday making mass a tough thing to get to on a weekly basis.
Now that I don't work weekends, making it to church has been so much easier. Going to church on Sundays and constantly praying has been the main thing that makes me feel like I'm home. JMU truly is a "home away from home" for me but knowing that there's a place I can go alone and just be myself and think, is such a gift.
What makes church feel this way is the fact that no matter where I go, mass is always the same. My church in Richmond matches the mass in Harrisonburg and truly, if I were to study abroad in Rome, or France, or wherever, I would be able to sit in the exact same mass as I do here in America. Knowing I have this constant no matter where in the world I go makes me feel like I can take a piece of home with me throughout life.
I hate change, I don't respond well to it. This was obvious last fall during my entire transition from living at home to living at school. I very rarely went to mass last year and I fully believe that if I had gone to mass on a regular basis I would have been happier, been more receptive to change, and wouldn't have struggled as much as I did finding my place.
God is so important in our lives and sometimes it takes a feeling of sadness or just a moment of doubt to realize this. I always knew He was there and listening but finally coming back to my faithful roots and cherishing my religion the way it should be, has completely changed my outlook on everything. From a stressful day at school or the smallest of things like a sunny day, nothing is taken for granted.
I have taken Isiah 12:2 as a bible verse to live by. It says "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation". By recognizing my salvation in God and how I can cast everything onto Him. My fears, my accomplishes, what makes me sad, what makes me happy, what makes me conflicted -- everything I feel can be thrown to Him to He can help me. Being fully aware and comfortable with this faith has helped me feel that more more at home here at JMU.
If you're going though a stressful time or feel like something is missing, I highly encourage going to church. Go and sit and listen to the readings. I find that whenever I go to mass, I can always connect my personal struggles to the readings and gospel. Whether you're worried about something small and relatively insignificant or you're bearing a heavy cross that you need help with, He will take up your cross and aid in your journey to inner peace. Find your home in God. You just have to realize there is room for you.