Hi there! This is part four of a series of posts. If you haven’t read the first three, please do that now! You can find them here:
Airports are the worst, honestly. It’s where you say goodbye, where you sob the ugly tears, where you can’t actually be present. You have to walk forward while looking backwards, all at the same time. My parents and sister and nephew brought us to the airport. Ian’s wife, Katie and their two boys came to see us off as well. I consider Katie one of the most genuine and kind people I know, and I’m so thankful for her friendship. She grew up moving from one country to another, their family following her dad’s work, and she also served in Thailand for a few years, ministering to trafficked women.
When they arrived, Katie handed me a box. Inside was this decoration for the house that I’d seen and really liked. She bought it for me and had written a note on the inside of the box lid. I didn’t read it until we were on the plane (which is probably good), but its message was exactly where I was:
“To have a heart always divided between homes, never fully at rest, at peace, contented…this is the gift that comes with being an expat. This is a gift, because we have been blessed with an understanding of an eternal truth…this world is not our home. In truth, we are just passing through, we do not one of us truly belong here.
Some of us know this, we understand it intimately, we are daily faced with the truth that we do not belong.
Sometimes we look like we belong…but our hearts feel out of place. Sometimes it’s our looks that give us away while our hearts beat in tune with those around us. But always, we live and breathe and walk through this world knowing we do not belong…and yet at the same time belonging wherever we are.”
I have only lived abroad for a year and a half, and all these words are true to me. I do not have one home now, but two. Two places on this earth that claim my heart, that have people I love. And yet, because of this division, I am forced to, am more able to, look ahead, to know that my heart will not truly be settled until it rests in the place where it never has to say goodbye again. It seems so far off in the distance, and yet the uncertainty of time pushes us forward, compelling us to do all we can, where we are, for the Kingdom, today.