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As I sat alone eating lunch today, as I do most days, I thought of how I once ate alone, with a sandwich in hand, becoming overwhelmed with emotions that I had possibly been suppressing for as long as I could.


When you take a trip far from your home, countless miles away from those you love and enjoy spending every day with, and if it’s one of the first times to be away like this, you know that, inevitably, at some point, you will remember how much you miss them and everything that made you comfortable.  I was barely a young adult when this happened.  Of course, when I was a young boy at summer camp I would get that feeling, and those were the first experiences like this I’d had.  But it had been a long time since then, and I’d never ventured this far off before.


Being of a sound age, I had learned to control my feelings and thoughts; they were on the ‘back burner’; I could focus on what I really needed to.  Eventually, though, it hit me, and I was not ready.  I was alone, just like I was in the summer camp days, eating my sandwich I had made earlier in the morning, and I started to think of home and all the comforts within; of my loved ones and how I longed to see them, hug them, talk with them face-to-face.  Why now?  What was it about this moment that flooded me with homely thoughts? 


I realized that it was my sandwich.  It’s true.  And then it made sense.  When you’re young, and you have nearly everything done for you, it’s likely your mother that does it.  She loves you; she cares for you everyday of your life until you’re on your own.  Even then, she holds on for as long as possible.  But she’s the one who made your sandwich for school, the sandwich that you wish was cut in triangles like the other kids, or the one that you were happy to have in your lunchbox because you didn’t have to eat the cafeteria’s “meatloaf surprise.”  I’ll give you a surprise.


Sitting there alone, slowly eating away at my sandwich, I knew how much I missed my family, friends, everything back home.  I cried because there was just too much emotion to keep back.  In those moments, it feels like an eternity that you’ve been away, and it will be another eternity before you get home.  But you do get back, and you know that you belong there.


Looking back today, it’s funny that a sandwich is the instrument that connected me to my buried emotions and thoughts of home.  It made sense now, but of all things, I’ve realized how powerful a simple sandwich can be.


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