I can still see the bare lightbulb hanging in the narrow staircase of my great-aunt Bertha’s house the first time I experienced homesickness. I can feel the softness of her lap as she pulled me close and told me I could make it until morning. In my memory, she wears an apron with a pretty floral print, but surely she wasn’t wearing her apron in the middle of the night. Of course, it may have been shortly after supper.
I felt truly ill from homesickness that night. And, despite Aunt Bertha’s soothing, I did think I might die.
But, I didn’t. I made it to the morning.
Since then, I’ve tasted homesickness in various levels of despair. Even on a perfect vacation or an exciting writer’s retreat, I start longing for home on about Day Three.
And that is why I was thrilled when one of my characters led me to a discovery. You may think, Dear Reader, that the author tells her characters what to do. It is often the other way around. In this specific story, I was threatening to send my heroine, Catherine, to an assisted living facility. She was not impressed.
At a crucial moment, Catherine whispered a desperate prayer and begged God to help her with the struggle of giving up her home. Then, she stumbled across this perfect passage in the Bible:
“Oh, God. Through all the generations, You have been our home.” Psalm 90:1
And, there we have it. The cure for homesickness. My home is not a cozy hearth like the one Bilbo Baggins longed for during his journey as a Hobbit. It is not a sleek apartment nor a farmhouse cottage like the ones I pin and post on social media. My home is not the place we have rented for the past sixteen years, nor even the house we are hoping to buy. (Although the thought of owning a home again does sometimes make me happy cry.)
No, Dear Reader, none of these places are really my home. And, no matter how secure, or grateful, or peaceful I feel in these places, I will always have that smidgen of longing for Some Place I’ve never been before.
That place is a person. And His name is God.
This is a truth so ancient it was spoken by Moses, the man of God, as the heading of the psalm puts it. And, it is so timeless that I can close my eyes in a hospital emergency room or an office cubicle on a Tuesday afternoon, and suddenly I am there.
With God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Comforting Holy Spirit.
And that, Dear Reader, is a forever home.