I remember reading a book about a child that was kidnapped – I can’t read those kinds of books anymore, so this must have been many years ago. He was kidnapped as a toddler, and they brainwashed him. They gave him a new name, they called themselves Mom and Dad, they created an entire life for him, from the outside, it was so normal and they were satisfied that he had forgotten his old life. But there was still something there, buried deep in his heart, he knew that something wasn’t right. He had dreams of his old life, recurring dreams of his mother and his father, his old room. And even though he was happy and his kidnappers were rather good to him, he wasn’t surprised, not one bit, to discover that he had been kidnapped. If I remember correctly, he figured it out and then embarked on a quest to find his real parents. He wasn’t who they all said that he was, and everything was fake, a way to convince. When he finally was restored to his home, every one worried about how it would go because, really, they were all strangers. But he saw his real mother, his real father, and he saw his home and he said, I always knew, I always knew, the truth was there, in my heart, the whole time.

I sometimes feel that way about God.

I feel like maybe we’re all exiles. 

We think we’re in our regular life, our real life, but there is this thing, this sense, this memory of something better, something more, something that is everything good and perfect still stuck in our hearts.

And even when everything is good or we’ve achieved everything we ever wrote on our Bucket List or pinned onto Pinterest boards or maybe we accomplish some long list of world success and celebrity and money, we still know, deep in our hearts, we’re exiles and something, something isn’t right here.

It’s not enough. All of the stuff, all of the things, all of the experiences, all of the good or the thrilling or sexy stuff in the world is a smokescreen of goodness, an approximation of something real to convince every one else that we’re fine, we’re normal but really we’re walking around and we know we don’t quite fit, we know something is off, we know we’re not where we belong.

The memory of God’s kingdom is there. 

It’s there in the stuff of the soul, the tendrils of the spirit. We’re like those that dream of home, it’s submerged somewhere in our brain, perhaps, but we know, we know, the truth is there, in your heart, the whole time. We see glimpses of it, we’re reminded, we have a hunch. It drifts like smoke or storms in like flashes of lightening-insight or takes our breath; we make love, we learn, we sing, we watch the stars come out, we care, we connect, we labour, we carry, we nurse, we cry, we dance, we have these moments of transcendence, like the veil between heaven and earth is fluttering, we can’t breathe for the loveliness of the world and each other, and just like that, we remember something. 

Our skin carries the mark of dust and we often catch a whiff, maybe the perfumed scent, of the Garden in the cool of the evening, and we know, somewhere inside, we’re supposed to be walking with God, unashamed.

I wonder if that’s really what happens when we meet Jesus.

It’s not that we meet him, or that we believe in him, or that we mentally assent to some non-negotiable truths.

No, I think we recognise him. 

I think that part of soul, our spirit, our bodies, our minds, locks into focus. It wasn’t a dream, no, that is what is real.

And we realise, Oh, my God, I always knew, I always knew, the truth was there, in my heart, the whole time.  I’m home.


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In which God has restored church to me
In which I admit that I couldn't be a Christian by myself
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  • Sarah, this is so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. Your gift is such a blessing. Oh, those glimpses of what it will be like to be home at last.

  • Seth M Haines

    Lady, you are on fire at the present. On ever-loving fire.

  • I actually remember hearing a real-life story like that. I forget how, but the child actually found his family again.

    And, yes, real-life is like that with the Kingdom. In fact the Greek understanding of “Logos” (Word) was that it was the forgotten logic or knowledge behind the universe. John breaks in and tells the Greek speaking world that the “Logos” is God who “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Of course, wherever the King is, there you will find the Kingdom.

  • Tara_pohlkottepress

    yes. i feel my weight shift impatient under me as I read. i remember.

  • Amen. I can’t imagine how overwhelmingly beautiful it will be to actually be with Him.

    It makes it all the more painful when we experience those times of kidnap–especially when we are the ones removing ourselves from all that is Good.

  • Q.’

    There is a word for this, Poet. It is called Sehnsucht. I have written about it being a homesickness of sorts… a  homesickness for heaven. C.S. Lewis was well acquainted with this feeling….this schnsucht. He described it as the “inconsolable longing” in the human heart for “we know not what.”  Here is a link to an article about it. I cried when I read the paragraph about a longing for a far-off country….ah, yes. Our Beulah Land! Q.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sehnsucht 

  • This is beautifully written.  And so timely — I was really actually thinking this post about five minutes before reading it.  Thank you for speaking Truth glowing with beauty.

  • Jonfroze

    Oh Sarah. So beautifully written. 

  • Handsfull

    YES!!!! This is it – you are so right!  (sorry for the slight incoherence, lol!)
    I think there’s another side to this too, which is that there are things that are universally felt as wrong, regardless of culture, religion or time.  Things like children dying or being hurt or abused, or death in any form.  (There’s more, but my kids are fighting and I have limited time here!)  We almost all feel that these things are wrong, and yet logically, why should we?  Why are we surprised and hurt when people die, because EVERYONE does.  At some age or another, every single person (give or take Elijah and Enoch) has died, in the history of the world.  And yet when it happens to someone we love, we are surprised and grieve, and feel that it’s wrong, and somehow, it shouldn’t happen.
    I think that’s because of the hint of eternity that every living soul carries within them.  Somehow we instinctively know that it shouldn’t be like this – the grief and pain and loneliness and struggle and sin of this world, shouldn’t be like this.  It should be better!  And I think that feeling is (whether we’re Christian or not) the ‘God-shaped hole’ , to borrow a phrase, aching within us for heaven.

  • Yes, I think recognition is just the right word. Well said.

  • Amanda McGill

    We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.” -C.S. Lewis (in an Experiment in Criticism)

  • It seems Puddleglum was right all along… “We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies
    playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow.”

  • Jennifer Hoffman

    I agree! That is one of the things I loved so much about the movie Midnight in Paris. We all know we aren’t living in the “golden era.” We search and search, realizing this isn’t home. It isn’t until we see Him, “we recognize Him,” that our homesickness is finally healed! Thank you for this beautiul truth tonight.

  • LOVED! Because yes, this is why getting a glimpse of the kingdom here on earth is just so…right.

  • Sophie

    This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. Yes I remember somehow, and it kinda hurts too…

  • Mizmelly

    Yes, yes the gold underneath.

  • Beautiful.

    I’ve lived overseas for the last twelve years and I always carry this feeling of home, but not home. I know what it means to have roots down and yet still feel like a foreigner. It’s hard, but also a gift. I think we are all homesick for heaven in some way, but certain circumstances, and seasons, and glimpses of Reality help us to to name it. It’s that thing where we feel just beyond the reach of “belonging”… because we actual belong Somewhere else.

  • This is beautiful. Thankyou for your words.

  • I have this feeling too, and its the primary reason I’m an agnostic and not an atheist.  But I find the concept of an all loving, all knowing, all powerful god who allows most of his children to stumble around as exiles to be baffling.

  • mmm. yes, this.

  • Absolutely. Narnia is my home. This is but a shadow. 

  • Mar

    Yes. yes, yes.

    I’ve been so edgy ,,,so longing ..so unable to put into words. And then, here it is.

    Such a description of what I felt when I saw Christ clearly…

    And everything I feel into those moments when the kingdom breaks through into our world and I feel “there, there it is….”

  • Ginger Kauffman

    Sarah, I’ve been thinking the same thing — not in these words, and not actually in words at all. But I’ve been living in the wonder of this truth lately. Thank you for giving those thoughts words.

  • Yes, ma’am.  My husband and I talk about that moment being as if a light comes on in the darkness, and everything that didn’t make sense or didn’t seem fair or right is just all of a sudden perfectly understandable and … perfect.  I really, really can’t wait, can you?

  • Oooooh wow! You just preached some TRUTH! 

    And I love that visual…of recognizing our maker. It’s hard to surrender and not cling to our earthly life, possessions, and loves, BUT the thought that we’ll one day know it was not really who we are and that we’re finally home where we belong is beautiful.

  • mylestones

    Yes, exactly this. Beautiful and true.

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  • Wow! Beautiful!!!!

  • Rena Gunther

    SO good! 

  • This post is a gorgeous depiction of how I feel so often.  I’ve been longing for “home” lately and it’s a bittersweet feeling.
    Thank you for sharing the gift of your writing!

  • A friend of mine sent me this link because she said it reminded her of my second book–The Beautiful Ache. And it did. You’re a lovely writer…thanks for beautifully expressing the ache for home we all feel! http://tinyurl.com/7b3agy6

  • Powerful and poignant.  So true.  It won’t be about what we’ve tried to believe and have faith in for so long.  It will be a recognition of the puzzle piece that has been missing for so long and then it will all make sense.  Thanks for the insight:)

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