I’m looking forward to a short trip next week with some lifelong friends who are very dear to me. I have wonderful memories of our years of friendship at school, overnight slumber parties and the Texas Gulf coast. After graduation we made a trip to San Antonio where we’ll go again next week.
Remembering makes me nostalgic.
What is nostalgia? The synonym that stood out to me when I looked it up was “homesickness,” that feeling of missing something—a place, people, or community. For me, home includes people and other places of happiness, acceptance and safety.
I’m thankful for many joyful memories of family, friends, neighbors, church, classmates, teachers and schools. God has put many wonderful, loving and encouraging people in my life, and I’m extremely grateful.
Nostalgia for what was positive can be a negative, however. Over time we dwell on the good and ignore the bad, believing everything was better than its reality.
If I think hard about it, I remember crying after school every single day of the Ninth Grade. What caused my emotional meltdowns? Probably hormones to a great extent, but there must have been other factors now lost to my memory. After all, you don’t cry thinking about your hormones! But as I look back at that year in general, I envision only good.
I’m sentimental about my hometown, but I didn’t have to live by its Jim Crow laws or attend its segregated schools. The pictures I hold in my mind can’t and don’t adequately cover the realities of that place for anyone who wasn’t a white middle-class American citizen. The nostalgia I have is for a place that others outside my privilege never really knew.
Many of you find the past to be painful and depressing because you dealt with great hurt or abuse. Perhaps you have regrets for your own decisions or anger at those who violated your love and trust. If so, your memories doesn’t evoke a feeling of homesickness, only deep hurt.
But even the best of “homes” are mere shadows of the one we have in God. He alone can fill the void left by feelings of homelessness and homesickness.
I look forward to the day when Jesus restores this marred and broken world to its original perfection that embodies all we could ever ask for—the perfect place, sinless people and the presence of our God.
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4
That will be the perfect home for which all our hearts long.