Not too long ago, a friend of mine was away at summer camp. It was quite a change for her, and she had a tough time dealing with homesickness. Maybe you've had that kind of experience, too. Or maybe it wasn't camp, but a time when you stayed with a relative or a neighbor. Or when you just felt alone and scared.
I didn't go away much when I was a kid, but I remember a time when I was older and was homesick. I was in another country doing work for my college degree. Everything, even the weather, was so different from what I was used to. I really missed home.
Whenever I'm in trouble, I turn to the Bible. There are always good ideas in it because it tells about how God cares for us. I knew from reading this book that even in ancient times people were homesick. A lot of the psalms, or songs, refer to times of loneliness.
The psalm that helped me the most is one that strongly shows God is good. In it, the writer is talking about our link to God: "If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Ps. 139:9, 10). That idea of always being in God's hand meant a lot to me.
I also spent time thinking about what home really is. More and more I realized it was a feeling, or idea, more than it was a physical location. A feeling of goodness and safety. When you feel "at home," you feel at ease and good about where you are, right? For me, this feeling of goodness was related to feeling close to God.
Speaking of God, I don't mean a big, grandfatherly kind of being. I've come to know God as the presence of good, of intelligence, and of Love. The Bible even says that "God is love" (I John 4:16). And if love is here, evil can't make any trouble for us. Since God isn't a physical being, He really can be everywhere. He is with you no matter where you go.
Another statement also helped me to see how these ideas could make a difference right then: "Whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 215). That "whatever" included me!
I needed to let myself be governed by God. One of the ways that I did this was to spend a few minutes each morning praying about the day ahead. For instance, I thought about how I was made by God and totally under God's guidance. I spent some time thinking of God as my Father-Mother, loving me and caring for everything. If there was something I was worried about on that particular day, I reminded myself that not even a human father or mother would want something bad to happen to a child. So even more, I could trust God, the Father and Mother of us all, to protect me.
I turned to God whenever I needed to make a decision, just asking Him silently whether or not I should do something. This didn't take a lot of time, and it helped. Several times people wanted me to do things, but God's answer was that I shouldn't. Each time, I found out later that I had made the right choice by not doing those things.
This all helped me to see that God was still loving and caring for me, even though I was a long way from where I usually lived. You might say that I'd found I was at home with God. I was beginning to see that the same God who was with me in my own country was with me in this new place among strangers.
And you know what? In a pretty short time, I wasn't homesick anymore. I'd also made several new friends who wanted to help me with the work I was doing.
These same ideas can work for you, too, no matter where you are. If you're feeling homesick, remember that you are always at home with God, who is Love, and who specifically loves you. Take time to pray and to let Him guide you. If you do this, you'll find new friends and new happiness - wherever you go.
You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist: www.tfccs.com