Collage of joys I: The Fireflies

I had never seen a firefly until I left California. Up until then, I’d just seen them in movies, and heard about them in songs (thank you Owl City). The concept of them was fascinating but because I never grew up around them I didn’t pay them much thought.

Today, fireflies hold a very valuable place.

Leaving home for the first time can be very emotional. I wasn’t sure if I would be back and the thought of my closest friends being so far away was hard for my brain to fully compute. I hadn’t experienced those feelings of missing the ones I loved because every time I left on a long trip, I always came back. All I knew then is that this was the best move for me; the move Jehovah lead me to.

The first two weeks, I began to miss my pets. I missed sleeping with my cat curled up next to me in my bed. I missed the excited paw scrapes my girl, Maxine made when she chased after a ball. I even missed the sassy Gali (Maltese) and her abnormally high jumping.

The next two weeks, I began to miss my friends. I missed looking forward to being able to cook together again and go on hikes. After the pandemic, we were anticipating being able to do so much of what we used to do, but we never got to. I missed playing music with them and going out in the ministry with them. The pandemic robbed us of a lot of great times, and now I was gone.

Then, I began to really really miss my family. I missed hearing my parents voices and spending time with my little sister. I missed the long, evening living room conversations I always had with my parents about whatever was going on in our lives and things we’ve been thinking about. I miss that quality time I spent with my sister when we went grocery shopping and cooked yummy meals together while we watched a movie we both had never seen before. It was my family that was most painful to miss because I was with them ALL THE TIME during the pandemic. I got used to seeing them, hearing them, and being with them everyday.

Finally, I began to miss it altogether.

For the first two months, my roommate and I stayed in an RV. It was on a property surrounded by many many trees. During one of these nights, I was feeling really homesick, so I went outside, sat down and immediately put my head down. I poured out my heart to Jehovah and told him to help me get over these feelings of sadness. I felt guilty feeling this way and my fear was that these feelings would distract me or to keep me from focusing on his blessings. I made a fervent effort to remember all the Bethelites who also left behind homes and family and friends and how they kept busy. I remembered Abraham and Sarah and so many other Bible characters who also left behind places and people they loved.

After I finished praying, I looked up.

The trees were all sparkling. If I didn’t know any better, I’d be fooled to believe that the paparazzi were all flashing their cameras from the shadows of the tall trees surrounding me. I wiped my tears and rubbed my eyes so I could see more clearly. I was in absolute wonderment. My gaze made it’s way up towards the sky, and there were thousands of bright stars staring down at me. It was all the beauty and bright shines that contrasted with the dark backgrounds. The fireflies and the stars: an entire lightshow and it felt like Jehovah put it on just for me.

Then I cried joyfully because of how beautiful everything looked. The gratitude seeped itself into my heart. The warmth extended to every extremity of my limbs, into to every hair follicle. I could feel a hug. I felt like Jehovah was telling me “I am right here, no matter how far away you are from those you love, you will never be too far away from me”. I probably stayed out there for an hour and before I knew it, I was smiling. My mind basked in every shimmer and sparkle. I was drenched in gratitude down to the very core of my being.

This is how Jehovah used the fireflies and stars to tell me I was home.

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