"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also ..." (John 14:1-4  NKJV)

It was near the end of Summer in my 16th year. I was riding gloomily in the back seat of a large van heading down an endless interstate. I was at the end of a two week road trip with several other teenagers to visit a seminary college in Iowa. Along the way I had spent several days in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and on the road. I felt tired, lonely, and homesick. It was the longest I had ever been away from my family.

I glanced out my window and suddenly my heart leapt up. There in the distance I could see them: the beautiful mountains of my home. After days and days on the dry, brown plains I finally saw the green hills that I grew up in again. As we got closer and closer to those glorious Appalachian mountains I felt myself growing happier and happier. My face lit up, my smile returned, and my eyes moistened. There was a warmth filling my spirit. It felt so good to be going home. It was such a joy to be headed back to the place that I was raised. It was such a blessing to finally know that I was almost back where I belonged.

Looking back on that memory makes me wonder what it will be like when I finally return to my true home. Even for the longest life this world is just a temporary residence. It is a place that we learn, love, and grow in but it isn’t really home. Our true home lies beyond this world and its love, light, joy, and beauty are beyond my words to describe. Our true home is Heaven, it is where our family awaits us, and it is where our spirits all long to be.

Until I reach that blessed place, though, I will do my best to enjoy each day of life’s journey here. I will do my best to use every moment to get a little closer to home. I will do my best to travel through life with a loving heart, a joyous smile, and a giving spirit. I will do my best to keep God in my soul until the day when my soul returns to God.

Joe Mazzella