I’ve been homesick lately. It often strikes me in July. Every other year. That’s when hundreds of the people I love and admire most in the world gather at Colorado State, and I’m reminded how much I miss them. How much I miss my old life on staff with Cru. My friends who joined staff when I did will mark their 35th anniversary this summer, and I wish I could celebrate with them.
From there, my sadness grows and picks up speed, like a snowball rolling downhill. I think about others I miss. Friends in Eastern Europe. My first home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Our last home in the Bay Area. My cousins in Alaska and Kansas. And I feel sorry for myself that I’m confined in this 8-5 job that doesn’t give enough vacation days.
As I expressed my longing to the Lord last night, He gently took my tears and replaced them with gratitude that I’ve been so abundantly blessed with friends and family to miss. He reminded me of a truth that came into sharp focus for me when I first arrived in Romania, as I contemplated making that my home for much longer. I knew that whether I lived there or lived here in the States, I would forever be incomplete. Part of my heart would always be in the other place. It was already too late. I’d changed from the person I used to be and there was no going back. I was marked–wherever I lived–as someone who didn’t quite fit. Someone uncomfortable and not completely whole.
That day in Bucharest, I promised the Lord that when those homesick feelings arose, rather than stuff them or wallow in my sorrow, I’d remember to thank Him instead. To thank Him for the dear, dear friends He’s given me. For a life rich and full with living out His adventurous purposes. I’d thank Him that no matter how fragmented I may feel, it’s only temporary.
Because right now I’m living between worlds. The past and the future. Isn’t the longing I feel really for that other home, the one I’ve never seen yet? I’m headed to my future reality — someday. For now, I live as an alien, because this isn’t my permanent home.
The best part? That home will be in the presence of the Lover of my soul — forever. The second best part? The people I miss most will all be there with me.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Phil 3:20