“I want to go home.” That is always my immediate thought when things get hard. When the week feels too challenging to make it through, or a particular day is not so great with a few mental breakdowns, or I’m just feeling so alone. I often times default to believing that “going home” would solve everything. Because, well, home. It’s great. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. It holds all the memories. I know it and it knows me. I was having one of those weeks. Where everything just felt like it was going wrong. I felt like I was carrying an extra weight with me everywhere I went. I walked in late (because as I said… it was one of those weeks) to a bible study and caught a girl in the middle of saying, “We romanticize our earthly homes.” Wow. Isn’t that true? Personally home for me is my favorite place here on this earth. But… it’s still not perfect.
Along with my earthly home, I also very often romanticize the past. I’m learning how easily I fall for this thing known as nostalgia. I was talking to one of my dear friends I went through college with and lived life alongside of on the phone the other day. We now live states away. We kept saying things like, “We had it good, everything was so good and fun and much easier.” And now I’m sitting here, (nervously) laughing, because when I stop and think about it a little more closely, there were many times in that season of life where my heart was breaking. And things were hard. And there was disappointment and stress and anxiety. We were all so worried about what we were going to do after college and what our plan was and if we’d end up where we wanted to be. But it appears so much prettier looking back. Looking back is so much easier because it turns out everything we were worrying about panned out just fine… as it almost always does because well, God has a plan all of the time. Nostalgia is one of those terms we tend to toss around quite a bit. But really it’s something I think us as humans are facing more times than we’d like to admit it. The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” If we put that together, it appears that nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return. Isn’t it so true that it’s when our current circumstances are hard, or mundane, or not to our liking, that we long for the past? When things are good and dandy we aren’t wishing for the old times. We like being present when we’re in the good days.
So these are the things I am romanticizing lately. I think they come along with the whole growing up and trying to figure out how to be an adult thing. I’m longing for comfort and familiarity, while trying to be content in this season of life. I was reading through Psalm 132 the other day and found God’s people crying out to Him, begging Him to do things He had done in the past. They were clinging to their memories for comfort. But what the Lord does is not bring the memories to the present, but rather tells them to fix their eyes on Him and what He has ahead for them. If we focus our minds on scripture, we are able to see that truly, the best is always yet to come with Jesus. The Lord calls us to be people of hope. We are not called to live in the past, but rather get to draw thankfulness from the past as we reflect on what the Lord has done and the prayers He has answered. All of this is for the sake of finding joy in the present day and the days to come. The famous C. S. Lewis once described nostalgia as, “Only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” This quote makes me stop and think. It makes me stop and wonder…What am I ultimately longing for when I crave to go back in time or strongly desiring to return to my well known earthly home? You see, it all comes back to longings. There will always be something I am longing for. And the same is likely true for you. What we are longing for may just differ in different seasons of our lives. And whatever you may be longing for or dreaming about or romanticizing over at this particular moment…I have good news. We are given an answer to each and every single one of our longings. We have been given Jesus as an answer to all of it. We have been given Jesus to satisfy our longings.
So here we are in this in-between time. We have eternity on our hearts and are longing for Heaven and all of its glory. Our final destination and true home. So in this in-between time we must keep reminding each other. “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love God ” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Right now has the potential to be great if we learn to cling to Jesus, trust Him and remember that indeed, the best is yet to come.
words by Megan Sauers and photo by Kate Bartley