Read a Jackets Excerpt

Read a Jackets Excerpt

Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

"We ... would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (v. 8).

Alexandra Preiss' sense of adventure took her all the way from Germany to Atlanta, but it couldn't keep her from suffering from homesickness.

Preiss grew up in Nauheim, Germany, near Frankfurt. After high school, both Preiss and Georgia Tech took a chance. Tech signed her sight unseen to a volleyball scholarship, figuring a 6-foot-3 middle blocker on the Germany junior national team could help the Jackets. Preiss was looking for help, too. "I just wanted to improve as a volleyball player," she said.

What coaches Shelton Collier and Bond Shymansky got was one of the greatest players in Tech volleyball history who helped lift the program to new heights. By the time Preiss graduated in 2003, she was first-team All ACC and honorable mention All-America. The two-time team captain set the school record for career hitting percentage and finished fifth all-time in career block assists, career total blocks, and career blocks per game, and ninth all-time in career kills.

Her senior season she led the team into the NCAA's Sweet 16 for the first time in school history - in Honolulu. The ACC champions set a school record for wins, finishing at 34-4.

Despite her success, Preiss struggled to adapt to life in the United States. "It wouldn't have surprised me if she had stayed in Germany after her first season," Shymansky said.

She also was homesick for her family the whole time she was in Atlanta, and she returned to Germany after she graduated. Preiss admitted, though, in addition to her friends, she would miss one aspect of American life she couldn't find at home: Taco Bell.

Home is not necessarily a matter of geography. It may be that place you share with your spouse and your children, whether it's Germany or Atlanta. You may feel at home when you return to The Flats, wondering why you were so eager to leave in the first place. Maybe the home you grew up in still feels like an old shoe, a little worn but comfortable and inviting.

God planted that sense of home in us because he is a God of place, and our place is with him. Thus, we may live a few blocks away from our parents and grandparents or we may relocate every few years, but we still will sometimes feel as though we don't really belong no matter where we are. We don't; our true home is with God in the place Jesus has gone ahead to prepare for us. We are homebodies and we are perpetually homesick.

Everybody's better at home. - Basketball player Justin Dentmon

We are continually homesick for our real home, which is with God in Heaven.

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