The Homesickness of the Turtle
Who does not experience homesickness?
When I move out the parental home for the first time and live alone;
When I must live in a foreign country with a completely different culture;
When I feel excluded;
When rituals and customs are so different from what I am used to;
when I am far away from a loved one …
Homesickness – What is its origin? How does it manifest itself?
Father Kentenich explained it this way to families in USA:
“What is this song that slumbers at the bottom of our soul and yearns to be sung again and again and to resound anew. That is homesickness for God. It is simply there, there is homesickness deep within us
It is said of a turtle that it had been caught far, far out in the ocean and was to be brought back to Ireland. And it was. But then on the way it was noticed the animal had become ill. Someone thought: What might the poor animal be lacking? What should we do? Finally, someone said: “The poor animal must be homesick. Yes, what should do we do about that? We want to restore the turtle’s freedom. They branded it with a red cross and then threw it into the sea. After a year the turtle was found again – in the place where it had been caught.
What do I want to say? I’m paraphrasing what I understand by homesickness. … It is the ever-present secret longing for our Lord God, for the ultimate, for the infinite. Homesickness, what is meant by homesickness for God? It presupposes the silent belief: We come from God, and we are only wayfarers here on earth. Where does the soul long to return to? To the place from which it came, to God. This is homesickness for God …”
Sister M. Hildemara Kob, our co-sister had to leave Schoenstatt as a young sister for along time because of pulmonary tuberculosis. It was very difficult for her to say goodbye to the place Schoenstatt. She told Father Kentenich that she had found in HIM a home for which she always longed. Now she had to leave this home. Father Kentenich answered emphatically, “This home remains with you.” Thus she mastered her years of separation from Schoenstatt. However, she never allowed the contact with Father Kentenich to be broken.
What helps us to overcome homesickness?
The experience of being secure in the heart of a person as an experience of being secure in God is what helps us.
And we can contribute something ourselves to satisfy the great longing, as Father Kentenich says:
“Thank God, one’s homesickness for God can also be satisfied here on earth, at least to a certain extent. … What does that mean? …
I see see everything in relation to God – whether I eat or drink, whether I am happy or sad. Always having both feet on the ground and my heart with God.” (Am Montagabend, Bd.10; S. 121ff.)