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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Visiting Home

Another paradox, they seem to multiply when we're here at the fringes of two worlds.  Here we are at home, the house where I lived through the crucial years of age 11 to 18, where I stayed through every break in college and medical school, where my wedding dress is boxed in a closet and the wallpaper in my room is the pattern I chose in the 70's and still like.  This place is familiar and my mom has made every detail welcoming, from clean sheets on new mattresses to favorite breakfast cereals.  This is home.

And yet the sense of being a visitor is also very close to the surface. The 17 years in our home in Bundibugyo far outweigh in duration and intensity the years here.  And though we are absolutely welcome in my childhood home (and Scott's, next week), it is still a space that had its own order and purpose without us and will continue on when we leave, we are temporary residents, in a bizarre time-warp back to adolescence, dependent and hormonal and limited, thrown in with our own actual 4 adolescents in an equality of restlessness.  My poor mom, all six of us trying to figure out who we are, at once.

Home is where we should feel the relieved sigh of being off-guard, at ease, understood and understanding . . but that is not quite true in Bundi, and certainly not true in America.  

I think when we can remember that we are visitors, with visitor-politeness and visitor-awareness that we are not quite at home, that we have to make an effort, to study the pace and expectation of life, to decode, then we are probably a bit easier to live with.  Unfortunately we've barreled through the first five days with that paradoxical assumption t that we SHOULD get it, but the discomforting reality that we don't, so something must be wrong with us.

I remember the same thing happening on our other HMA, in 2000.  I did not want to feel judgmental or critical as we crossed back over the ocean . . and that prayer was answered a bit too well, as we instead felt overwhelmed by the complexity of a life we did not know how to enter.  Didn't think we'd repeat that a decade later, but here we are, confused and amazed that everyone else around us seems to handle this life so well.  We're in a church of real saints, people that offer us meals and rides, people that homeschool a half-dozen kids while living simply and bonding as families and maintaining order and discipline, people who know Scripture through and through, and are friendly and wholesome.  And who know more about us than we know about ourselves. It's a bit intimidating.

So we can only say, to everyone who has to put up with us in the awkwardness of in-between, sorry.  May God give grace to all who must bear with us as we exclaim over the inhumanity of the DMV, or bump up against rules we didn't know about.  The sermon this Sunday was from Genesis 40-ish, on Joseph, and the way he was faithful in the in-between time of prison.  Here we are in luxury, not prison, but it was still an encouragement to me to look at this 5-month interim as an important step in a long journey, to be present where God has put us right now, visiting home.  


wallace said...

as I read your blog I realize that I have had that feeling even just living here in the states. Isn't is good to know that one day we will truly be Home?

Pam McKee said...

No one ever ever stops exclaiming over the inhumanity of the DMV.