Rain reminds me of home.
It’s been raining almost incessantly where I live in northern California. The gentle pitter patter of rain and the sweet smell of wet earth fires neurons in my brains. Rain floods my mind with memories of India, my old and first homeland where I was born and raised.
The monsoon season in India lasts four months in a year. Rain permeates every aspect of our lives during this season, determining what we eat and wear, how we travel, and where we gather with friends. As a young girl, I remember eating hot samosas (a savory Indian snack) and drinking steaming cups of chai after school. When power outages made it harder to sleep sometimes at night, Dad would tell us stories. Or, we would gather with neighbors to play games and sing songs. Rain triggers homesickness, even after fourteen years of leaving India.
We experience a longing for home when we are away from home. A particular food dish, an old tune, a familiar scent, or a chance meeting with someone from our hometown can bring back memories of home. The pining for home is referred to as home-sickness probably because our hearts ache when we miss the comfort and familiarity of home.
I’ve come to embrace homesickness as an important and even beneficial part of my immigrant experience. It keeps my former home alive in my mind and increases anticipation for my next visit to India.
The apostle Paul also longed for home but not an earthly one.
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4 NIV).
Our human bodies are weak and fragile. We struggle to keep our thoughts fixed on God and to love Him with our whole hearts. Sin, suffering, and worldliness can keep us from experiencing perfect fellowship with God. We crave release from our earthly tents and look forward to our new, resurrected bodies so we can love God freely and fully. Like Paul, we can feel homesick for our eternal house in heaven when our desire for intimacy with God grows with each passing day.
Rain can make me homesick for an earthly homeland. But I experience homesickness for my future home whenever I pray for and with others, discover new truths about God through the study of the Bible, enjoy the gifts God has given me, feel His love and comfort during times of grief, or see Him at work in the everyday details of my life.
Keeping eternity on our minds can fuel our love for God and encourage us to live intentionally on earth. To be homesick for heaven is a gift that we can enjoy on earth even as we await the gift of heaven itself.
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5: 6-8 NIV
(This article was published in Arise Daily)