"SO, DO YOU FEEL HOMESICK?"
Something else that frustrates me about the question is that I do not get "homesick" in the way I think most people expect.
Below are two better versions of what you may think are the same question, but actually lead to more honest and thorough answers.
- When do you feel homesick?
- What makes you homesick?
When people ask me if I’m homesick the first thing I say is, “I feel homesick, but not for a specific place or America or anything like that. I feel homesick about people and relationships.”
Let’s look at my answers to these questions and flesh these thoughts out a bit.
WHEN I FIRST ARRIVED
You see, one of the first things I did after graduating college, other than renting my first house and starting my first job, was getting Benji. Sure, I didn’t go to a pet store and necessarily pick him out (read about how Benji became my family HERE), but the decision to keep him and the three years where we did EVERYTHING together was life-changing for me. We travelled across the east coast and south together. We moved to different homes, went hiking together almost every weekend, and really he was my one constant … in a way my first constant in a life full of change and transition. Now, I am in China… full of new-ness and change without my constant beside me.
I know that I have a Heavenly Constant that is worth far more than my furry four-legged friend, but still… those were the times when I felt greatest level of homesickness.
ALMOST ONE YEAR IN
In May (actually at the same time as “The Jungle Book” was premiering), my sister graduated from her undergrad studies. Then in June, my baby brother graduated from high school. The daughter of a close friend was married in a wedding in which I’d overheard and sat in on many a conversations about. My family attended the annual Memorial Day reunion picnic. One of my best friends from youth and his wife are expecting their first child (today actually)... and so much more!
I find myself sitting in China realizing that I am missing all these things… and it hurts.
My brother Timmy captioned this photo in this way: "Congratulations Nick! I'm so proud of Nick and the life decision he's made. Nick has decided in his future to help people and become a traffic cone, so that people drive safely on the road. He's a real servant to the people. #trafficconeuniversity #classof2022"
My family and grandmother celebrate Kelly graduating from Wingate University with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology! She even was chosen to formally pray for her fellow graduates as a part of the ceremony.
Social Media is such a wonderful tool to stay connected with friends and family, especially when you live on the other side of the world. I am grateful that I don’t have to wait months or years before hearing from/seeing those I love who are far away. Yet, I think social media and seeing all these important events I am missing being present for is one of the biggest causes of my homesick. Knowing I am not there. I will never have a picture with my brother or sister on their graduation day. I won't get the phone call from my friends when their baby is born. Little things like that have become much more painful in these past few months.
A SIDE EFFECT OF BEING A TCK
When someone asks me questions like, “Where are you from?” or “Where is home?”, I have hesitated my whole life. In my heart I want to say Senegal, I felt a longing and homesickness for that country ever since we left when I was a teenager. Still, as much as I long for Senegal to be my home, even when I was there I was a foreigner, an alien. I lived in America on and off from birth to last year for about 18 years of my life, but it never felt like home. I have lived in over fifteen towns and cities, five countries, and 3 continents throughout my 27 years of life.
Home to me has never been a house, a neighborhood, a state, or even a country. Home is where the people I love are… and because of the life I’ve lived, the people I love, those people are all over the world.
It is a blessing and a curse.
It is the fate of the TCK.
No country, no people, no nation will ever be where I belong.
I have come to know what it is to be a wanderer without a home.
A nomad without a place on the globe to return to with the knowledge that it is MY PLACE.
My true home is NOT on this earth. It never was and never will be.
My true home is being prepared for me by the Son of Man, the Son of G-d, who took my death, my guilt, my failures upon Himself so that He could give me a FOREVER home.
If I ever feel sad that my homesickness does not look the way people often expect it to, I remember this truth.
I was not MEANT to find a home here, therefore, I will long all the more for my true home… an eternal home with the K-ng of K-ngs.
"But our citizenship is in heaven,
and we eagerly await a Savior from there,
the L-rd J-s-s Ch--st,
who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself,
will transform our lowly bodies
to be like His glorious body."