Tuesday, December 8, 2009

OPEN MIKE: Where Do You Live?

[what's brewing: an answer to the question]

"Do you live around here?", the cashier at 7-11 asks me as he recognizes me and my coffee order for the third week in a row. The lady at the park, with the super cute 4 year-old, asks me "Do you live nearby?" In church, after a casual introduction to the couple behind me, they ask the question, "Where do you live?" "Where do you live?" is a common question we ask each other in our day-to-day interactions. Those who have an easy answer to this question may never really notice it being asked.

This question has been a difficult one for me these many years. How do I even begin to answer this very simple question? Are they asking: Where did I used to live? Where have I ever lived? Where do I live this week or where will I live next week? Where did I live last month? Where do I want to live?

When someone asks the question, I must I get a funny smirk on my face, because they usually sense that the question is oddly hard for me.

Well, I say, I am from California... actually I am from Indiana, but have lived in California most of my life. Well, most of my adult life I have lived overseas...except for the few years in between when I lived in California again. First we lived in Kazakhstan--that is near Russia, you know--and for the last few years I have lived in Turkey, but I don't live there any more, however all my stuff is still there. So, technically I am homeless, but I am not living in my car or anything like that (I chuckle at this point and the person who is listening to me usually doesn't). I have lived in Long Beach for the past few months and am living right now in Los Alamitos, but I'm headed to Big Bear for the foreseeable future. I am really anxious to move to the UK, we are waiting on our visas; yes, the UK, I know it's crazy! (at that point I get the clue that it is time to change the subject by asking about their lives).

"So, where do you live?", I ask.

When the cashier at the 7-11 asks me “Do you live around here?”, I just say : Yes, I live nearby. Do you live around here?

The lessons of "home" and "homelessness" have proved to be a constant struggle for me. I want to be settled, to be home. When I first began to read the Kazakh language, I remember reading in Kazakh the verses that describe our lives as "in Christ." In the Kazakh language, "in" is the exact same grammatical form (and meaning) as we would use when saying "I live in Indiana." It is a directional word; it is concrete. I live in Oregon... I live in Kazakhstan... I live in Christ. Imagine knowing your home "in Christ" as surely as you know your home is in Long Beach, California.

His word tells me that "he is my dwelling place... he has been my home" (Psalm 90); but, I still find my heart searching for home outside of Him alone. What if I answered that infamous question, "Where do you live?" with a confident and secure, “I live in Christ”? The thought makes me smile and chuckle a bit as I wonder how the 7-11 cashier would respond to that answer.

Lord, make this the deep truth and response of my heart!

I live in Christ. Where do you live?

[editor's note: Thanks, Stephanie! You can connect with Stephanie on her blog, www.hisgirlalone.blogspot.com Would you like to "live in" CG's Community for a week? Submit your post to me during this OPEN MIKE season: editor@womenoftheharvest.com ]


Ellie said...

Someone asked me just tonight, "so here is home for you?"

I smiled and replied, "I live here, yes, but it is not my home."

After too many moves, there is no one place that is home that you do not miss another place.

Waiting to go home one day to all gathered together. Until then, there are days that I am tempted to answer that question with a general "a little ways west of the park". Your little and my little may be different, but it is an answer that satisfies both of us.

Tim and Susan said...

I too hate that question..."where are you from?" It makes me too feel "homeless". And I too love that verse that He is our dwellin place...A great quote from Amy Carmicle (sp?) is "God is our Home". love it, just love it

The Queen said...

ha ha I love (and hate) that question. Even worse is, "Where are you from?" I am an Adult Third Culture Kid and an MK who is now living outside the U.S. and raising 3 PKs. I have to judge quickly just how much time and interest the person asking the question has before I launch into an explanation. Wouldn't want to SCARE someone... :-)


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