Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Culture shock is like..., Part 2: There's no place like home

Is any place here on earth home?

Now, I have been and am certainly still privileged to have family that gives me an excellent idea, I think, of what that “prepared place” is, what the  wholehearted embrace that is Heaven and our true Home must be like. It’s where I got both roots and wings. And I will always remember the words of a dear friend’s mother, spoken about what she saw as she passed away: “It’s like home, only better!”

But allow me to thoughtfully clarify. I don’t know that even “home” can be home, with a place and people like this—my new “home”—embedding itself deep inside me. Last night in that penetrating haze of fatigue I just can't shake, I was watching the water go down the bathtub drain. I was thinking, Abraham and Sarah must have felt something like this. They must have had days and months and years like this, if they were people who “went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”

It means that home is elsewhere. And it means that He will give me what I need to plunge forward through this marathon, with Him taking my hand each morning when I get out of bed: Good morning. I’ve been waiting for you, and we’re going to do this together. Just get on my back. It means Him carrying me through moments when tears blur my sight, through moments where I realize that things—that I—will never be the same now...not wanting things to be the old way, but just not completely able to digest the new way, either. It’s loving that I can make fresh fish tacos, but realizing that I’ll probably never have the crispy taco shells at the same time to go with it.

I feel like a ball of playdough, with new things being tacked on and pressed in all the time, with colors swirled in haphazardly from my previous journeys as I roll from place to place and pick up scraps. I think Heaven must be a little like Facebook in the way that you can see a lifetime of friends and experiences in one place—“This…is…Your…Life!”—without travelling far. It’s that running mental list of things I can’t wait to show ___ when they visit. It’s loving it when my sister and brother-in-law are finally home from England, but knowing that their home is split between two continents; that they can never be completely home all at once. It’s reveling in my sister and brother-in-law from Thailand being home, but knowing they will go back to their other home in a handful of days. It’s being delighted to see my good friend Emily and then my friend Paula when they cheerfully showed up at my gate today—but also wishing I could call my Mom when I know she’s still asleep.

My heart hurt last night when my oldest expressed that he just wasn’t thrilled about being here, in those words. It’s not because he wasn’t expressing something that each of us all feel from time to time. It’s more because it’s one more little scrape that I need to pray for, to bandage and prevent scarring by gently talking with my son, and to patiently allow God to heal in His way, in His time.
This is what it feels like to always be a little out of your element; to always be learning, to wake up every morning a foreigner for the sake of being forever at home in the place where it really counts. It means accepting from God’s hand the things that just don’t feel right, like your electricity or water pressure going in and out with all the fickleness of a toddler--and I’ve seen a few of those. (Last week the power went out after using the clippers on only half of a coworker’s hair. Nice.) It means embracing the beauty—the “God-ness”—that you just don’t find in the place you came from, because your country of origin had its own display of "God-ness." It means being a stranger, and trying to look at the world with gratitude while still being honest about the things that, to be fair, just chap your hide or rattle you to the soul.
The lyrics of "10000 Reasons" keep tumbling through my head, and I think I want them to stay there awhile.
The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning;
It's time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may come, and whatever lies before me,
let me be singing when the evening's done.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul...


mhutsell said...

Oh friend. With all your poetic picture-making with which you blog I forget that you still ache and miss "home." I forget that Baden isn't so little and that he "gets it"...the sacrifice. That the little irritations can get under your skin and there isn't anywhere to run away and escape for a time. Just know you are being lifted up and it sure is a blessing to "walk with you" on this journey when you write about it. Love you all.

Wizzy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! It means so much to me to have people already in Uganda sharing the joys and challenges of life there. We will pray for your family as you navigate new waters and for healing and health in all of you!

Elizabeth Heersink

Anonymous said...

I can so understand for your longing for home. Where everything is familiar..people, places, culture etc.

I have come from India to Canada and working with boys who are a challenge in the society.

Like you said, there are days where I could use to go back for one day to breath something familiar, talk to people who know me from childhood and then come back and handle everything here again. But I guess, God gives us strength and brings us to the point when we learn to depend on His grace and Mercy every day. Because I know this is not possible by me and whatever I do is His grace working thru me.

Thanks again for going after your call instead of being at a comfortable, familiar place and most of all fulfilling His plans for your life.

Blessings to you and your family.