Like many elderly folk, I live in one state, Arizona, for most of the year and in another state, Massachusetts,in the summer. But for me, New England will always be my home. The changing seasons and my family are where my heart is. For several months, in the summer, at a small campground, I am surrounded by green pine trees and enveloped in humid days. Coming from dry Arizona, my skin drinks in the moisture from the air, even though the humidity can make life a bit miserable for a few weeks, in July. A few times, we have stayed until October and were able to see sunny yellow, bursting orange and crimson red leaves, slowly emerge. How I would have loved to have stayed a bit longer to go apple picking, during crisp and sunny afternoons. And the snow….the fluffy, white flakes of that first snowfall, leading to the massive storms that blanket the earth in frozen crystals. Yeah, I miss it all.
Our main reason for coming “home” is to be with family. Our adult children, extend from New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts to Kentucky. We pull our heavy, residential RV, yearly, just to spend precious time with each family. Picnics, at the campground, visits to Stanley Park with it’s serene pond and gorgeous gardens, as well trips to the animal farms and ice cream stands, make up our summer in MA visits. Spending time in Vermont and New Hampshire offer calmer times with my stepkids, older grandkids and my aging, yet still alert, mother-in-law. Kentucky is our newest adventure, having met a daughter my husband didn’t know he had! Trying to make up for lost time, we took the family to the movies, shopping, and out to dinner. We also bought a few gifts for them, before we said goodbye.
As I was reminiscing about “home” the other day, the Lord whispered, “But Heaven is your true home.” Startled, I suddenly realized how much my happiness depends on my relationship with my children and grandchildren and on our next trip back to New England. The Holy Spirit reminded me that God is supposed to be my first love, the one who loves me unconditionally. I can’t expect my family to fullfil all my emotional needs. Only my Savior, Jesus Christ, can do that. When I spend quiet moments with him, his Holy Spirit comforts, teaches, and leads me through the power of his Holy Word.
When I am missing “home”, I may actually be longing for Jesus and my heavenly home. Not that missing people I love is wrong! On the contrary, God commands that we love and care for our families. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8. It’s just that other people cannot fill that emptiness that makes us yearn for something more. In her book, A Sudden Glory, Sharon Janes describes this as “a ‘glory ache’-a longing to experience God’s presence on a daily basis.” Do you experience this “glory ache”? It can be filled when Christ is the center of your life. If you ask him into your heart, he will reside in you, forgiving your sins and giving you everlasting life, in Heaven, and purposeful life, here, on earth. Jesus said, I have come so that they have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV
So then, have I stopped missing my family? No. I wish I could see them, more often. I appreciate how we have been able to travel back to Massachusetts, every summer. But… I miss all the major holidays with them, most all the birthdays and significant other days, such as school concerts and dance recitals. It hurts and there is guilt that I cannot be there. Why do I stay, then? I am here because of my husband’s health and because he loves it here. We both enjoy the Big Blue Sky, towering green cactus, mild, sunny winter days, and year round blossoming bushes. But as beautiful as these may be, they will never compare to the riot of color, in autumn, the fluffy white flakes of the first Nor’easter, the green grass of the summer, or the tree blossoms in Spring. A part of me will always love New England even though I can enjoy myself here in Sun City West, Arizona.
In the meantime, Jesus prepares a wonderful eternal home for me where I will live with him, forever, never to feel emptiness, again. Our citizenship is in Heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord, Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20 NIV For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13: 14.