A Post Inspired By Birthdays and Epic Moves
Note: I’ve debated posting this. It’s personal, and I don’t want to freak people out. I don’t want compliments or frantic phone calls asking me if I’m all right. I’m not sure what I want. I started this fully intending to write a post about my summer reading list, and this is what came out instead.
I’m currently sitting in my apartment in New York City at the dining room table, ignoring the half-finished chapter of my second novel on my desktop and the fact that my stomach is demanding dinner.
The windows are open, and the white curtains are trying to escape. It’s cooler today than it has been, the result of severe weather in other states on the Eastern seaboard, but the sun is shining, and the street outside is noisy with chatter and cars. The ice cream truck is taking another lap around our building. I’ve lost track how many times I have heard “Pop Goes the Weasel” since coming home from grocery shopping.
There’s something absolutely beautiful about today, especially since early this morning, in a fit of panic, I texted this to my best friend,
I’m feeling super homesick right now. I hate this.
I don’t even know what that means. Homesick? Homesick for where? For Virginia? I love Virginia, and I love my family and friends who live there, but it’s not home. For Kazakhstan? That’s been the closest thing I’ve had to a home, I guess, but it still doesn’t quite make the cut.
I think I’ve been homesick all my life.
My parents live in Turkey. My sister, brother-in-law, and their bun-in-the-oven live in Virginia with my grandparents and extended family. My brother lives in Texas. And I have the misfortune of having many wonderful friends who live scattered throughout the earth. Kazakhstan, England, Haiti, Virginia, Iowa, Texas, Minnesota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri—Why can’t you all live in the same place with me? Why can’t I pack you up in my suitcase and lug you around to every place I run away to? Who needs clothes and shoes—who needs books?—if we could all just be together?
You know what’s brought this on? This homesickness?
The fact that tomorrow is Sunday.
You see, that crazy, dreadful, bittersweet twenty-fifth year of my life that is now dead and gone gave me two very beautiful things: the courage to write, and the desire for church.
(There goes that ice cream truck again.)
Since leaving Kazakhstan, I feel like God has poked and prodded and ripped from me everything until all I had left was Him. Sundays became my favorite day of the week for the first time ever in my life. (I used to envy atheists because they got two days to sleep in.) I learned so much about God and myself this year because of my church, my family, and my friends.
And because of church and God and family and friends, I know the answer to this homesickness—this frustration of wishing to be settled while at the same time unable to stop exploring—the answer is that one day I will be settled, and I will have people I love and care for with me, never leaving me, never saying goodbye.
(I hate that word. Goodbye. It’s the ugliest word in every language.)
One day, I’ll be in heaven, and every tear will be wiped away from my eyes. Death, mourning, crying and pain will be gone forever (Revelation 21:4). I know that answer. I believe that answer. I have hope in that answer.
But as Nathan said in church last Sunday, hope is not an emotion. It’s not a feeling. The warm fuzzy feelings are just a spiritual by-product.
So even though I have hope, I don’t always feel comforted or satisfied.
And tomorrow I want to go to a new church in my new city of New York. I also want to hide under my covers and wait for Monday. I have to make new friends all over again.
It feels like the first day of school, and I don’t like it.
The sad thing about meeting new people is that saying “goodbye” is always a probability.
In the Book of Philippians, the apostle Paul wrote,
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus… For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
I read the words, I say the words, I pray the words, I believe the words—but I still really miss… something. Some place. Someone. My citizenship is in heaven, and one day I’ll go home.
Until then, I guess homesickness will just be a way of life.
There’s something beautiful about today. Maybe it’s the beauty of this city. Maybe it’s the beauty of my dreams. Of my God.
Maybe it’s hope working.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.