Tuesday, October 9, 2012


A student came by to see me in my office yesterday. She poked her head inside and said, “You said I could come talk to you about anything, right?”

“Sure. Come on in.”

She sat in the empty chair next to the round table and poured her heart out about how she wasn’t sure she should be here. She talked about how she went home this weekend and had such a good time with her friends, just listening to music and dancing the way they used to. She told me she thinks about leaving school and just going home to be with her friends.

But then she said, “I know God wants me here.” And we talked about that. We talked about how she has a lot to contribute to this campus and how He has clearly led her here. We talked about how things at home wouldn’t be the same, even if she did leave and head back to her old neighborhood.

Things are just different now.

All of a sudden I realized her problem.

She’s been in school a month; the initial excitement has worn off. Classes and rehearsals and dorm life have become mundane, and it’s still a long time until Christmas. 

She’s homesick.

This weekend I attended the wake (that's Midwest for visitation) of an old friend from home--a woman almost as dear to me as my own mother. B and I drove an hour to get there, stood in line for 90 minutes to greet the family for five minutes, then drove the hour home.

It was worth every minute.

But, since then, I keep thinking about home. The town I grew up in was much too small for me; I didn’t fit in there; I knew God wanted me here. And yet, even now, I get homesick.

Homesickness, I’ve heard it described, is sometimes our longing for something we just can’t put our finger on. We know things wouldn’t be better “back there” and yet the here and now isn’t quite right either.

It’s the future we want, the future we long for.

Homesickness isn’t about going back; it’s about going forward. It’s about finding fulfillment in a place that isn’t "here and now" and that isn’t what has already been.

Homesickness is about all of our desires and wishes and wants fulfilled by something or someone who alone can fulfill them. It’s about finding love and acceptance and peace in the arms of someone who gets us completely and loves us still. It’s about longing for something we just can’t get our hands on here, no matter how far we reach.

As I talked to my student I realized, I’m homesick, too.

Are you?
"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C.S. Lewis

Linking to Richella's Grace at Home party. 



  1. Another world, indeed.

    Sorry for the loss of your friend.

  2. I love this post... as I do all of your posts! We are pilgrims here... longing for another time in another place where we'll captured by one look at Jesus' face...

  3. Nicely said, Shelly. And how great that your door was opened and the girl felt welcomed to go talk to you. colette

  4. I'm very worried that
    my daughter will be
    the homesick one, next
    year, as she will most
    definitely be going out
    of state {due to the program
    she will study, which isn't
    available here}. Although
    she hasn't had a great HS
    experience, she is very
    much a homebody.

    I moved a lot growing up
    so for me it isn't about missing
    a place so much as it is
    missing my parents and
    that "feeling" of being with
    people who have love you,
    since you were created. I
    have lived away from home
    for so long, that I am used
    to carrying that longing
    around with me. On the other
    hand, when I am away from
    my own little family, I feel
    homesick for them.

    I do envy those who live close
    to ALL their family ~ that must
    be wonderful.

    Happy Tuesday and hope
    that you are half way through
    those stack of tests, by now!

    xo Suzanne

  5. Jesus come soon!

  6. Love that quotation from C.S. Lewis! That about sums it up, doesn't it? I'm glad you're there, providing listening ears to students like that girl who needed to talk.

    I'm sorry about your friend's death. It's hard to say good-bye, isn't it? Thank God it's actually only "So long."

  7. You are never too old to be homesick. This is a lovely post. I know Norma would be happy with it. I am! Love you, Shel! Mum

  8. What a great take on homesickness. I've often been homesick for past times in my life, past communities I was part of. But if I'm honest - really honest - I've never really found that thing that I'm longing for. Not yet, at least.

  9. "But I still haven't found what I'm looking for." -- U2

  10. Oh. That quote makes me catch my breath & gives me the assurance that I'm not the only one. We've moved several times...lovely homes, each of them. And yet, nothing has ever felt like home.

    I long for home, but I also know that I have some work to do...a divine assignment. That promise of home, with the 'care packages' my loving Father sends my way, remind me of His love, and give me hope, no, the assurance - the thumbs up - that I'm where I should be, that it's all according to plan. But oooh, sometimes it just hurts to be here. Slogging through the drudgery of the daily grind. I want to be where I belong. Someday. When the time is right.

  11. Once again I'll say how much I appreciate this post, Shelly. Thanks so much for joining Grace at Home!

  12. Very nice, Shelly, your words bring me comfort yet again. Blessings from Canada :)

  13. All kinds of great songs are running through my mind right now. "This is our temporary home" "This world is not my home, I'm just passing through".


  14. Did you get inside my heart and then write this post?! What a perfect description of homesickness! Could not have articulated it better. I feel it so.very.often.

    As always, love your posts and so happy Richella featured it today. It certainly struck a chord in lots of hearts!

  15. I have lived with and tried to avoid this feeling most of my life...such a paradox.
    Many Blessings