I'm not the kind of sick that needs a doctor. My stomach is flu-free and my nose breathes easy. It's not an ear infection, so a prescription antibiotic won't do. It's not migraines or measles or malaria. It's none of those things. But it sunk into my soul last week, sitting across from my mentor in a local coffee shop downtown: I'm sick.
We were talking about being lonely in a crowded room and feeling distant when people are close. We were wrestling the word loneliness and trying to make it mean something else - something that we felt even when life is everything but lonely. And then she wondered aloud if we are longing for our forever home. And there sunk the sickness - all gathered up in my tired bones. I'm homesick.
Sometimes, the mess of sin that pales in comparison to future glory makes one long for that future. Sometimes, that longing can feel like loneliness. It can mean feeling out of place everywhere. That longing can be a tired but eager white flag stretching up to break the battle-weary skyline. Sometimes we get homesick.
Maybe when you are close to the battle, you have a more urgent desire for the other side of victory even as you are fighting. Weird thing is, sometimes stories from the frontline can have the same effect. There are never too few stories about sin - they monopolize the headlines and scatter themselves everywhere. We fail and others fail us. We hurt and others hurt us. It's a big, black dreary hole that feels lonely from the inside and lonely from the outside. But it's not loneliness, really. It is a homesickness for peace - for a place where relationship is rightly restored.
And that place of future glory set in my heart will also be the anchor for my gratitude today. The Lord has given me this breath for a purpose, but He's let me breathe it with eternity in view.
Sometimes sick for home is an okay way to feel.