Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Let's Go Home

[what's brewing today: fresh ground]

When we first started settling into our house, I would lay in bed and wonder how long it would take to feel comfortable and safe here. The walls were all bare, we had couches but no table or chairs, and the empty space felt so huge and impersonal. While the electric fence and metal spikes that surrounded the house were there to make me feel safe, their very presence was having the reverse effect because it highlighted the need for them. I was paranoid over every sound in our hollow house. I wondered if this could ever feel like home.

About a week later, we spent a long day running around town searching for furniture and other missing necessities like trash cans, a broom, and cleaning supplies. Everything in this country is sold in certain sections of town – I use terms like “Desk Row”, “Bed Street”, “Plastic Goods Avenue” to describe it best. You must spend all day driving from one section to the next in order to complete just a portion of the shopping list. It is exhausting and after a few hours, I usually have a headache from the excessive pollution intake that has occurred.

We stopped at a market and were contemplating whether we should look for a few last household items like nails, toilet seats, etc. before giving up. Having no more energy left, I announced that I just wanted to go home. That word caught my attention the moment it left my mouth – home. I had just referred to the house with an electric security fence, ice cold floors, and no hint of decoration as “home.” But as we were standing in the middle of a foreign place with car horns blaring and street vendors shoving their goods in front of my face, that house felt like a haven from the chaos around me. It felt like home.


CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

Home, indeed, is a relative term indeed. Having lived in 4 different homes in the last 2 years it is seeming more and more relative indeed. But I do look forward to this next move in a week which will be our "final" move for quite some time - and I too look forward to purchasing things to make my "home" more of a "home".

@ngie said...

You've described my city (Cochabamba, Bolivia) exactly! That is how the houses and the markets are.

If I remember right the word 'home' kind of slipped out of my mouth the first time too.

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Alan & Beth McManus said...

I've found through all the moves in my life that "home" is wherever my family is. Home can be a hotel room we're staying in, a supporter's house, our house in our country of service, the missionary house we're being loaned, whatever. As long as my family is there, it's home. Often, I will say, "Let's go home," and my kids will ask, "Which home? HOME home or where we're staying?"

My mom and my husband picked the house that we are living in now. I never saw it till the day we moved in. I hated the kitchen on sight and couldn't go in for the first three days without a mini panic attack. Finally, my DH insisted that getting his own PBJ's wasn't going to cut it long term and I had to make it my own. With God's and my mom's help I have. I still don't like it, but every time I feel sorry for myself, God has us visit someone who lives in a one room house or a cardboard shack and I thank Him for a working stove, a fridge, and a real sink.

Coffeegirl said...

"HOME, home or where we are staying?" We've used that same phrase to clarify details in a conversation that was getting quite confusing with mixed meanings of "home"! I also identify with looking forward to purchasing things to make "home" more of a "home". I find myself hesitant to settle in too much because we don't know how long this will be "home" for. Many missionaries in our area have moved nearly every year, so we're holding things lightly for now. This all brings back the concept of the longing for our final home like we talked about the first week...then we'll really feel HOME, home.

Ellie said...

Funny, I've felt the same thing about getting things to make home feel more like "home". The problem is that every time we get around to hanging pictures, we have to move again!

Now I have a phobia about hanging anything on our walls! We've been in our current house almost three years, and probably only have three things on the walls. I just know that the day after I finally hang up pictures, we'll have to move again!

Libby said...

Me too! We have been in this house almost three years and it's still pretty bare. In fact, because my husband's and my bedroom had frosted glass and we have no neighbors that can see in I am just now getting some shades made for that room! The light finally got to me. :)
But I have that same phobia I guess that as soon as I get it all hung up and settled that we will have to pack it all up again.
By this time next year we hope to be in a house that we won't have to move out of for a long time so I am looking forward to that. There is still furloughs and back and forth from the village but this is our life! :)
I love that Michael Card song "I will be your home". So encouraging!

Donna Rudd said...

'LOVE this blog! Thank you for taking the time and energy to do it. I can really relate so much to the feelings you express so well in words!

Paula said...

I just went through all of this in late January. We just moved to El Salvador (my husband, daughter and I)leaving our son in the states to go to college. I was so tired of all the shopping and cleaning!! But now our house is a home for as long as the Lord allows. I love this blog!!!

Alisha said...

Me too, me too! I probably echo the hearts of many others when I write that it is SO GOOD to read that lots of someone elses are dealing with the changing face of HOME. For us, too, home is where the family is - yet in real time, I tend to start hanging stuff on the walls just as soon as I've unloaded the kitchen...just so that for as long as it is home, it feels like it.

georgia said...

Home. . .being an MK and now a missionary, this topic brings up all kinds of feelings. As an MK I had moved about 11-12 times. After getting married we moved over 25 times in 30 years.

Several years ago nightmares of not having a "place" hounded my sleep. In my dreams I would enter a bathroom and just get seated and suitcases would fall all around me leaving me no room; or junior high kids would appear. I would wake up with my heart beating and fear overwhelming me.

During sessions with an understanding counsellor I realized that for my own children I would do everything I could to make the "new home" theirs. In my carry on bag would go some favorite toy of theirs and I would run to the children's bedrooms and lay their toy in the corner. When they walked through the house, I hoped they would feel "home" again.

Even though I did this for my children, I never had a "place" made for me. I finally realized that "home" to me was with my Father. I was the apple of His eye, I was His treasure; He was my refuge, my resting place. As this truth sunk into my heart, we were home on furlough staying in a home of people we had never met. The bedroom belonged to their college age daughter who was gone. I had no place to put my toiletries, my books--barely room to lay my suitcase on the floor. That night I woke up again with the recurring nightmare--no place! As I lay awake I remembered that God was my "place" and thanked him for my special spot with Him.

Since that night I have never had those nightmares again. My heart has been opened to see His love and care in providing "places" for me--sometimes with roses that I love, sometimes with books, sometimes with colors I can relax with, often with a lamp by my bed, sometimes with a dainty coffee cup or pretty mug. Always something that makes the place special for me.


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