Nostomania: A Good Word

The light of day was just breaking when I heard bare feet padding down the back hallway. The tile floor is always cold in the winter so the girls moved over it quickly. They weren't sneakin' as they sometimes do. Annie's trained them to be quiet when they get up, to allow the rest of the house to wake without their help.This day, they heard us up and came running.

A few days ago, Jeff expressed his feelings to friends about our living arrangements of late. It has been more of an adjustment for him to have the house re-nested than it has been for me. He said now it feels almost normal, having Annie home, and Caleb—Jeff’s new bestie as Annie calls him now that he’s doing a rotation under Jeff’s tutelage for his PA training.

The girls are five and seven. I don't think there could be better ages for having your grandchildren under your feet. They need me---but not too much. I want to be needed---but not too much. So it's perfect. It's a give and take that satisfies both ways. They don't require much discipline and provide lots of laughter as they play and interact from their place in the world.

I would be lying if I said that our re-nesting hasn't been an adjustment for all of us---except maybe for Olivia, who at five is certain having us all live together forever would be fantastic, and even better if we could all sleep in the same bed. 

Annie texted me a picture last week from one of her social feeds. The share had a picture of a log barn sitting in a green field next to a copse of trees. Up at the top of the photo was a word for the day: "Nostomania [nos-tuh-mey-nee-uh] noun: an irresistible compulsion to return home." Her comment: "Good word!!"

I chuckled out loud because I know she's feeling it, a bit of nostomania creeping in after months of delays in the restoration process going on at her house. The restoration was necessary when pipes burst while they were away during the bitter cold snap that visited us early in the year.

“Home is the place where, 
when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” * 

Luke's been home, too, living in the gap between finishing college and getting married. There's been a body in every bed in the house. The dishwasher is always full; the refrigerator empties quickly. And---you knew this was coming---I'm going to miss it.

The reality is all of us are living in the gap. Life is the "dot on the line" in the great span of eternity. We live in time which seems to be more of an enemy than a friend. We live in a moment, a whisper; the Bible calls it a vapor. We were made for a place we can only remember in the deepest part of our souls. We can identify this truth in our longing if we are willing to slow down. Deep calls to deep. When we listen closely, we hear the faint heartbeat of the place of our truest belonging.

Part of the journey of life is awakening to our true home. For much of lives, we are busy building our nests, or rebuilding them when moth and rust destroy. God, in his grace, gives us glimpses of our true home. Moments in time that help us to grasp something of the glory we were made to inhabit. Sometimes we notice; sometimes we don’t.

Jesus said, “… seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew. 6:30

We read this familiar verse from the Sermon on the Mount and we tend to think the Lord was talking to someone else; we think having "all things" is an elusive dream beyond our reach and undeserved. I once felt that wistful unworthiness of a kingdom beyond me. It would have been true except for Jesus who made a way for me to enter into the kingdom and to receive his righteousness. It is a wonderful gift of grace.

As a kingdom dweller, I have choices to make? Will I get up every morning to seek the kingdom? Will seeking God be my first priority?” Will I seek after “a better country, a heavenly one” that can only be seen with the eyes of faith? (Heb. 11:16) Will I cultivate a hunger for my real home with the intention of allowing nostomania to take root in my soul?

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb. 11:6)

The Lord isn’t using rewards to lure us into living a certain way. These aren't promised treats, prizes we’ll receive if we’ll go pick up our rooms and put our toys away. Often, we slip into legalism which seems so very practical. But God shows us in his Word that our reward comes on the basis of relationship. He wants us to seek Him. We are worthy of reward because we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Our reward is Christ Himself.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (Jer. 29:12-14)

We became exiles, strangers, and aliens in this world when we entered the kingdom of God. That's why we are always restless.

Let’s seek out our true home— with all our hearts. There’s the risk that we’ll suffer with a bout of nostomania before we arrive. No fear, my friends. In His presence is fullness of joy— a most beautiful reward. 

“‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34)

*Quote: Robert Frost


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