I think there’s only one perfect cure for homesickness and that is to be with the people we missed but in most cases, that is not doable when we are miles away from home.
If I will define in my own words, homesickness is the deep longing to be “home” – where our hearts feel at home – and when it hits us, it can drag our feelings down. It is not easy and I know that well especially when we are “alone” or still adjusting to the new place but I think we can get “good” things out of it. Well, at least I did.
1. They are priceless!
I have been working abroad for more than 7 years now. I was in Singapore for more than 6 years and it was only mid last year that I moved to Shanghai. When I came here, I knew I was more than ready but no matter how prepared I was, homesickness still stings. After a long day at work, sometimes I wish I could just fly back home whenever I want but every time I feel that, I always find myself asking, “why am I here for?” And in silence, I would always find my answer. I am here for for the people I love.
Then it dawned on me, I would rather have this homesickness than not feeling it at all because I realized that this reflects how much I value them. I think it is a good indication how close we are to one another. If we will never feel homesick then I guess we were really never that close to them unless of course we have grown to be so independent (but even the independent friends I know, homesickness still hit them hard sometimes).
If we will just have the right perspective, I believe that this feeling will anchor us to the very reason WHY we are here. It’s already given, we are here and it may sound tough but it is what it is and most likely, we have chosen to be here. If we will not let our emotions take the upper hand, we may realize how much we actually want “this”. “This” is not to be away from everyone we love but to be the best we can possibly could – for them, for ourselves and most importantly, for GOD.
2. You are strong!
In Singapore, I used to live with my church mates. Almost every night, I hang out with friends and my weekends are usually stuffed with fun activities at the church. But when I moved here, I went back to square one. No friends. No church. To top it off, no English-speaking neighbors! Almost everywhere I go, no one can converse with me in English. I felt like I entered to a totally new world. Who will not be homesick right? But then again, why am I here? I am not just here for the people I love but I am also here for myself and for God.
Whilst it’s so true that we long to be with them, this could also be the perfect moment for us to discover how strong we can be! I strongly believe that there are things about ourselves that we can only find out in nostalgic moments. That is the reason why I think there’s such thing as homesickness because we can pick some good gems out of it. I think it’s the same principle as to why there’s such thing as pain – it can give us a lot of realizations. It can reveal what’s in our hearts. It can push us to do things we thought we couldn’t. It could make us see that indeed God’s grace is abounding in our lives.
3. It makes the reunion sweeter!
I think homesickness will make our reunion a lot sweeter! When we are homesick, we wish for the time to run a lot faster… If only we could do that, we would but that eagerness to go home will make that awaited moment so special, so extra ordinary. I think that is why space is good as it will make us miss them so much more – it gives so much inspiration to make that moment so perfect to remember.
I will never forget when I went home during Christmas. The moment I entered the house, all my nephews and nieces ran towards me while shouting my name. They flocked around me and kissed me. I was a celebrity for a moment! Then I looked around, the glow in the faces of my family and friends are priceless. What could be sweeter than that?
Perspective matters a lot especially in hard times and I hope the 3 realizations above gave you a different light on homesickness. And oh why did I write this? I bet you can guess – yes, I am homesick!