It didn’t take long for the homesickness to hit, the kind that twists your stomach into 400 knots.
It was in the Wal-Mart parking lot, late at night with a hint of a warm Montana breeze. To my right, a small group of teens were huddled around a truck.
While my wife was talking, I thought back a few minutes earlier driving down Grand Avenue, one of the main streets here. The road was packed with students, packed in numerous vehicles following a football game that just finished.
I drove slower than I should down Grand Avenue, searching for a particular road I needed. One car filled with students ripped around me on my left. Evidently I wasn’t going fast enough, because one of them leaned out the window and shouted something that appeared kinda rude.
Back in the parking lot, my wife was talking. After 30 seconds or so, she paused.
“Are you there?” she asked. “Why aren’t you talking?”
A short pause before I could keep my voice steady enough.
“I was afraid if I spoke I might start crying.”
Even now, I’m disgusted with myself that I allowed myself to mope. The people are so nice here. Employees at work were kind enough to send my wife a bouquet of flowers and stole into my apartment with some groceries and supplies I needed.
I don’t think it was by accident, but a thought flashed into my mind. It was my young college-age friend back home. He just found out he has a brain tumor.
When I talked to him on Facebook later that night, he was surprisingly upbeat. When I asked him how he was doing, he said, “You play the cards you were dealt.”
Hmmm. I’ll wondered if I would be so faithful facing that trial. If I couldn’t even handle this trivial change, how would I ever cope with something that grand.
This is where I need to be. No question in my mind. Doesn’t mean there won’t be a breaking-in period though. It’s happened with other moves before and will probably happen again.
Finally I hung up and walked into Wal-Mart. Before I went home, I set my GPS for another building. Surprisingly I found it in less than five minutes, with no additional insults hurled from students.
I pulled into the parking lot and stopped next to the familiar tan building. Lights lit up the parking lot and most of the facade of the building.
My eyes settled on a sign on the outside of the building. Some of the words on the sign jumped out more than others:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
I paused and smiled. I was home.