Homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from the specific home environment or attachment objects. The term is in origin a loan translation of nostalgia, a learned term coined in Baroque period medicine. The Oxford English Dictionary describes homesickness as a feeling one has when missing home. Feelings of longing are often accompanied by anxiety and depression. These symptoms may range from mild to severe.
Homesickness frequently occurs when one travels and may be exacerbated by unfamiliar environments or foreign cultural contexts. Homesickness is especially common in youth. Young people may experience a sense of dread, helplessness, or separation anxiety on their first day of school, summer camp, or on a protracted summer vacation away from the family. Many first-year students at boarding schools or universities also experience homesickness. Some new members on military basic training and members on taskings[ambiguous] might also experience it.
Home sickness, was a term we often used when I was in secondary school and this was to describe I would imagine frequent bouts of nostalgia we would have about home while we were in boarding school.
To put this in context, we were required to be away from home, in school for months at a go with a few holiday periods in between. I went to secondary school in the 80s and that coincided with a tough period in Nigeria’s history, economically things were in decline and attending a public school meant that things went from bad to worse, increasing the levels of home sickness felt my most students. So most times from the moment you were dropped off in school, you immediately felt like going back home with your parents.
One thing that bothers me today is that we modern day Christians do not seem to feel home sick, considering that heaven is our home. By this I am not referring to a morbid desire to die or commit suicide, far from it, but more a deep knowledge of the fact that there is a better place prepared for us after our time on earth and any experience we go through is not comparable to what we will enjoy in heaven and all of our actions should be geared towards ensuring that we get home. I am getting the distinct feeling that a lot of us believe heaven is what we make of it on earth, hence the desire for the pleasures of this world. Matthew 6: 19 – 21 admonishes us not to lay up treasures here on earth but in heaven, because it says were your treasure is, there your heart is.
I remember back then all reasonable attempts were made to return home with good grades and no negative reports so you could enjoy your holidays (once when I got suspended I knew what it was like not to enjoy ones holidays). I believe we need to switch into that mode, finding out and doing those things that delight God so we can enjoy eternity.
God’s people let’s get more home sick and less conformed to this world.