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Homesick

The first time I spent a night alone away from my parents, I slept at my grandparents’ house about 10 miles from home. I remember that I was tearful and I felt as though home was hundreds of miles away. The sounds, smells and rhythm was very different from home. Years later I spent most of one summer as a camp counselor and I missed home yet I was too tired and busy to get very sentimental. Then during my first year of marriage, my husband and I moved away from family for my first professional employment. Our big adventure was a time to make our way in the world. More years later I was driving the kids, dog and cat back to my parents’ home after an austere time during my husband’s internship in another state. As we neared “home,” I recited the anticipated noodles, bread, jam and cookies awaiting us with all things familiar.

During the past few years since my parents’ deaths, I sometimes wake up remembering my childhood home. I spend mental trips around the rooms or outside in the yard. Those are now mostly sweet memories. After decades as a married woman I realize that my home is with my spouse–and yes, with my dog. I have lived in four states and 11 different houses, so I know that home can be a transient place. One must make a “home” wherever you are.

As I get older and more loved ones and friends pass away–as culture, music and styles change, I must admit that I get homesick. I think we all experience some loss and grief during times of change. Transitions can be exciting but also scary and uncertain. My favorite grocery store changes the layout; my tech devices are constantly updated; my grandchildren grow; and laws and gas prices change! Homesick feelings can include sad, restless, unsettled–perhaps even angry reactions. I hear many voices exclaiming, “This isn’t my —– (you fill in the blank). Perhaps we are all homesick on this planet.

Over many years song writers and actors have expressed the feeling of being “a wayfaring stranger,” “all you who are weary come home,” Dorothy returning from Oz, or how home is a certain state of mind. I think our souls–the deepest part of our hearts and minds–remember and yearn for true home, and we miss him. We miss the God that never changes, who always loves, and brings us peace as no other. We strive to fill that remembrance with things, food, substances, people and places. Some of us also know that only “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV).

When I start to get frustrated with this world, my country, my church, my family, etc., I need to spend time with Jesus, who welcomes me back home. He is my breath, my bread, my water, my true family. His words, his life stories, his promises sustain and guide me. Jesus reminds me that there is “only one thing needed” and that is to sit at his feet and listen to him (Luke10:42).

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. Describe a time of feeling homesick.

2. “Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’” (John 14:23). How is Jesus making a home with you?

Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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