This isn’t an actual picture of the beach we visited, but does look as cold as the beach we visited.

Recently my family took a few days and went on a little trip to California. We had always wanted to try staying at a beach house, so after looking into it, we found a really good deal on a little rental right next to the beach for a few days. The kids were super excited about staying there and maybe taking a day to hit up Disneyland as well.

When the day came to leave, everyone was anxious to get to the beach as soon as possible, so we left home, and hit the road. After a long 6 hours, we finally arrived, and it was amazing. We dropped off our things, grabbed some towels, and walked the 5 minutes to the sand and the beach.

The kids loved it. Even if we all had to take turns chasing the rogue, crazy 3 year old all over the place. The sand was sandy, and the beach was beachy. The water was only 59 degrees, which is life threatening arctic freezing if you are from Arizona. But the kids somehow still managed to have a good time. Myself and my wife opted to not die from frostbite and avoided the water as much as we could, after all, someone would have to still be alive to resuscitate the 4 frozen kids after retrieving them from the icy waters.

After a couple hours, and a lot of shivering, we headed back to the beach house. We went in and finally had a few minutes to look around. To put it kindly, it looked better in the pictures. It was old, worn out, and crammed into a space so small that even hobbits would start to get claustrophobic.

First things first, we needed to hit the shower to warm up the blue, stiff, shivering kids.  Thats when we learned that the hot water had conveniently run out. That was more than a bit unfortunate, as we felt like it was antarctica and not the beach we had just visited. But we survived. Barely. My wife described it as “camping”. Not exactly what we had in mind when we booked the trip.

Early the next morning, we got up early and drove into Anaheim to spend the day at Disneyland. After being herded like car cattle into the designated spot, we rode the shuttle to the park, shuffled in just after it opened and spent the next few hours running between rides, it was great, even with a crazy 3 year old who was scared of every ride.  It was quiet, calm, not that busy, and cool. Then, it wasn’t. The human floodgates were opened and the Super Bowl crowds funneled in, and made it crazy like normal. Everywhere you looked there was a line. We waited 30 minutes in line to get a corndog. It started to get hot, and ended up being the exact opposite of the awesome morning. And now with a tired, hot, and whining 3 year old.  So, we all looked at each other, and decided to escape the madness and go back to the beach.

But, after battling the crowds to leave, fighting traffic, and parking back in the craziness in Newport beach, we just wanted to get back home. Home as in, our own beds, our own space, the peaceful quiet that we missed over the last couple of days.

So, after another hour or so getting another beach visit in (most of which was spent again chasing the hyperactive 3 year old all over the place), we gave up on the last day we had reserved for our beach vacation and left a day early, and stuffed our things back in the car, and piled back in to head back home, and we couldn’t wait. We just wanted to go home.

As fun as the beach was, and Disneyland was, it wasn’t home. There is just something about being home, and being in our most familiar, and comfortable place, that makes us happy.

After the long (Even longer due to an exploding car that completely blocked the freeway) trip back, we stumbled through the door and were met with the quiet bliss of our home again. The feeling of finally getting home after being away is one of the best feelings in the world. That old saying is absolutely true, that says, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

If you think about it, we are all just on some trip away from home right now. We are all just visiting this earth, which can be fun, exciting and new. But, also has its fair share of cold showers, disappointments and frustrations. We go through it, and experience it, but we know, that eventually we are going back home. Our real home. Our first home. With a loving Father and Mother.

We don’t remember exactly what that home was like for us, but, I think we get little glimpses every now and then of what it will feel like when we come through that door after being away for so long. I imagine that those memories will come flooding back, and we will remember growing and learning from our Heavenly parents, along with all of our brothers and sisters.

I imagine that all those feelings of coming back to our earthly homes, will be compounded and enhanced a thousand fold, as we enter again into our Heavenly home. I imagine our Heavenly Parents embracing us and telling us again and again how happy the are to see us. And how much They missed us while we were “away”.

The exact feelings of comfort and familiarity that make us love and miss our earthly home, can give us small glimpses of what our heavenly home is like. The more “comfortable” we are with the spirit, and the more “familiar” we are with our Father in Heaven will make that trip back home even more special.

I hope we can all enjoy our time here on our earthly “vacation”, taking cold showers, waiting in our long lines, and chasing our 3 year olds, because this all just makes the moment when we all get back home all the more meaningful!

“….the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.”

-Alma 40:11