“Homesick for My Eternal Home,” Ensign, March 2019
I was the poster child for homesickness.
When I was small, despite the fun I would be having at slumber parties, there always came a point in the night when I would call my parents, asking to go home while the rest of my friends slept soundly. I remember nights when I would be giggling with my friends while playing hide-and-seek and eating too much pizza and chocolate licorice, only to feel a deep anxiety settle into my chest when I noticed the sun disappearing outside and how “far away” from home I seemed to be. Fun fact: most of these sleepovers took place only about five minutes away from my house (luckily I can laugh about it now).
Interestingly enough, I still get homesick. Sure, I like to travel as much as the next young adult, but after a few days of exploring a new city, there is nothing quite like returning to the comfort and familiarity I can find only at home. But lately, with my life being filled with making never-ending to-do lists, worries about the future, and exhaustion that never seems to go away, I’ve again noticed that same deep-rooted anxiety I used to feel as a child when I was away from home. Which confused me at first, because how could I possibly feel homesick within my home? But one day I finally realized what this odd feeling is: It’s homesickness for my real home. My eternal home.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently spoke about this sort of homesickness, saying: “I believe that every man, woman, and child has felt the call of heaven at some point in his or her life. Deep within us is a longing to somehow reach past the veil and embrace Heavenly Parents we once knew and cherished.”1
Sometimes I forget that this earth is our temporary home. We are spiritual beings on a mortal journey. We’ve never done this before! No wonder we feel so lost and awkward and freaked out from time to time. We are here on a journey to return to our true home. When you think about it that way (and when you realize that this extended time on earth is not meant to be as much fun as a vacation at the beach), it’s only natural that we all long to go back to our Heavenly Father.
I think we feel this homesickness for our eternal home especially when we try to do our best and see minimum results, when we face certain trials that never seem to end, and when we are completely exhausted and overwhelmed from everything life throws at us. Sometimes it feels like just as I manage to take a step forward, some crazy situation or mistake flips me around and pushes me back in the opposite direction! And that can make my eternal home seem farther away than ever.
That’s when I have to remember.
I have to step back, breathe, and remember who I am, where I am, and where I will be someday if I keep moving forward on the path of discipleship. I have to remember that this life is a mere speck on the time line of eternity. I have to remember that Heavenly Father once told me that this temporary home would be filled with sorrow and confusion and challenges, but if I would keep going even when things got hard, I could make it back to Him. I have to remember that the Savior can help me overcome my weaknesses and move on. I have to remember that I chose to come here because this short separation from the comfort of my Heavenly Father that allows me to grow, better myself, and become like Him will be worth everything.
I can’t even fathom the indescribable joy, familiarity, and peace I will feel when I am reunited with my Heavenly Parents. But until then, I’ll treat this temporary home for what it is: a privilege. This life is meant to be a test. We need to be patient with ourselves because this is a new experience for all of us. And though our homesickness for our eternal home may always be deep within our hearts, we don’t have to feel lost or alone. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ can give us a small taste of that peace our eternal home will someday bring us. The gospel can give us hope to keep moving forward, and it is the key to finding our way back.
Just as I knew I could call my parents for help whenever I felt homesick, I know that Heavenly Father is only a prayer away. He wants to help us. He wants us to return to Him. And because of that, we can take comfort in knowing that as we seek Him, He will bring us one step closer to home. As Elder Uchtdorf taught: “When you walk the path of discipleship—when you move toward Heavenly Father—there is something within you that will confirm that you have heard the call of the Savior and set your heart toward the light. It will tell you that you are on the right path and that you are returning home.”2