It’s a quiet evening, this Saturday before Easter. I’m sitting in my dorm room, researching the Mexican War for Independence while my roommate reads a book for our US history class. We’re listening to worship music, and in a little bit, we’re going to watch a movie. I think I’ll make some popcorn. Down in the mail room, a package waits for me. I didn’t get there before they closed yesterday, so the package will sit there until Monday. I know it’s filled with goodies from home, and I have this overwhelming desire to find someone–maybe one of the guys on Campus Safety–to go down and steal the package out for me. But I won’t act on that.
Tonight I’m feeling… not sad or lonely or even homesick per se… I’m just coming to grips with the fact that this is my first holiday away from home. Most of my friends from high school have trekked back to St. Louis and are spending time with their families. Many of my peers from church are home and will be worshiping with our church family tomorrow. My cousins are all home and safe and probably jittery with excitement for all the chocolate and jelly beans and who knows what else they will find in the morning. One of my sister’s best friends turned 15 today. All I could do was wish her a happy birthday over Facebook.
Going to school so far from home, I’ve missed family gatherings. I’ve missed birthday parties and school plays and little kids growing up. I’ve missed my younger cousin becoming more and more a Godly man. I’ve missed seeing my older cousin flourish in his role at our church. I’ve missed seeing the little girls play and tease and tickle. But this is different. This is a holiday… a holy day. And it’s going to be lonely without my crazy family.
I’ll be eating Easter dinner in the dining hall. I’m not upset about it necessarily (the dining hall serves pretty good food), but I am missing the good food that my family makes. I wish I could be there with my older cousin to insist that, yes, this is when we have the awesome potato casserole, and no, don’t tell me we have it at Thanksgiving because you won’t make it then either! I want to be there for the teasing, the egg hunt, the Easter baskets. I want to be there because my family’s there. I want to be in a house with people I love. I don’t want to sit in my dorm room, go to the dining hall for an hour, and return to the dorm or to some other place on campus.
I would’ve rather that Thanksgiving be the first holiday I missed. I was glad to come home at Thanksgiving–on my sister’s birthday no less!–even if it did feel weird to readjust. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. But I wish I could be home now. To spend Easter alone is an odd thing. Granted, I won’t be alone. I’ll be going to a massive church service tomorrow, and my roommates are both here. There are lots of people still on campus. People are all around me. People I love. But it’s a kind of loneliness too. My family isn’t here. A huge part of any holiday is spending time with family. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t surrounded by aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents on a holiday. This very well might be the first time. I’m not quite sure what to make of it.
But I know that God will bless my first Easter away.
¡Dios te bendiga!