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  • Writer's picture Bethany McMillon

Homesickness


Sleep hadn’t come easily in the hours before. I’d tossed and turned and finally found comfort curled under the blankets. Now, my eyes blinked rapidly, adjusting to the silvery light of the room. The surroundings were unfamiliar – a bed and pillows that weren’t mine, a an unfamiliar clunking sound on the other side of the wall and a darkness that wasn’t the same as the warm dark gray of nights in our room at home.

Ah yes, our hotel room, I groggily realized as I threw my covers to the side and felt my way to the restroom. I flipped on the light, blinded for a moment. I rubbed my neck, tight from the restless night’s sleep so far, and thought through how glad I was to be on vacation. But, at the same time, how much I missed home. I love to travel and don’t often deal with homesickness, but in that moment, that’s what I was… homesick.

So many things were different in this moment from the way the lights flickered before lighting up the room to how the floor felt under my feet. Though our trip had been full of connection and laughter and fun, it felt so different than the comforts of home.

This is not my home… the words echoed through my sleepy soul. Just as “this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” as Paul wrote to the early Christians in Hebrews 13.

Minutes later, I shuffled back to bed, rearranged the pillows and curled up under the covers. This time, sleep came quickly and by morning I was ready for another day full of sunshine and adventure.

In the darkness of night, home seemed so far away.

***

I stand in my closet. My house is still quiet. The sun hasn’t yet risen. I’m thinking through what to wear – debating with myself as if a life depends on my decision. I love spring, but the variance in temperature makes outfit choices a little more difficult. I flip hangers to the side and finally pull on a pair of black pants and a warm black top.

My heart weighs heavy in this pre-dawn Monday morning. I’d heard hard news about a friend over the weekend. I pray for her as I continue to get ready for the day. Another friend comes to mind; another prayer whispered. Family members, friends, and others come to mind and I bring them to the Lord in prayer – Lord, show them your nearness through their heartache and health struggles. Show me how to love them well.

I move into the kitchen, turn on our dimmest light; our house slowly awakens and begins to stir. I feed our puppy and notice my heart has begun to search for the Word hidden inside, finally finding the verse I’m thinking of - in Revelation 21:4, when God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.”

That’s when I make the connection. The same feeling that overwhelmed me in the middle of the night in our hotel room on vacation, rises up in me now. Homesick… but this time it’s for what’s to come rather than what I’ve left behind. I yearn for a time with no sorrow or crying or pain.

I make my way through my morning routines – coffee and fixing a lunch and last-minute packing of all the items I need for the day, then goodbyes to my guys as we go our separate ways.

In the minutes before I, too, need to leave for the day, I open my prayer journal and jot down the names of those that came to mind this morning. I make note of several things for which I am thankful. I read the next chapter in the book of John and my phone begins to buzz. A friend I’d prayed for moments ago sends an update.

In the shadow of her circumstances, she reaches for a friend to remind her of the Goodness to come as she trusts in the Lord.

Before I leave for the day, I quickly check the weather and realize the predictions are much cooler than I anticipated. Instead of adding more dark colors to my all black ensemble, I grab a pink jacket and scarf – a reminder of the warmth to come.

***

Some days, even in the midst of contentment and joy, connection and laughter, or my normal morning routines, I find myself looking for signs of home. Not my lovely, comfortable home with my kitchen and couch and puppy and pillow and people, but my eternal home. On occasion, in the darkest places and nights, that home seems so far away. But often, I see reminders of my heavenly home, of God’s Goodness, in the conversations with friends, in sunsets and sunrises and in the colors of the day.

Lord, you tell us you’ve gone to prepare a place – a new home - for us. You’ve already sent your Spirit as our comfort. Allow us to feel your Spirit rise within us when we’re homesick, to trust in the Goodness that’s to come. Allow us to find comfort in you and in showing your love and grace to others.

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