February 28, 2012

In a recent conversation with a colleague at the language school, we talked about our sense of home. One of the oddities for missioners is how you respond when someone asks you for your address, or when they ask “where’s home?” And, of course, the answer to that question varies for each of us. For some, if not all, this can be anything from a source of discomfort to extreme dismay. As missionary-types, we’re in transition from place to place … we’re in spiritual transition in how we’re processing what’s currently happening in our lives, living outside of the U.S. … we’re in transition with our comfort level dealing with a new culture and language … our support systems are in transition, as we’re separated from most, if not all of our regular support structures … and we may be in the process of selling the place where we have resided for many years, so that we can move forward as missioners.

Whether or not you’re a missioner, I think we all have to ask ourselves at some point in our lives, “What and where is home?” I also suspect the answer differs at various points during our lives. I think there’s a part of all of us that will always feel as though wherever “mom” or “dad,” or some other familial or pseudo-familial connection resides, is the place we call home. Parents … grandparents … aunts/uncles … brothers … sisters … as we carry in our hearts and minds all those who are intimately connected to our lives, maybe where ever they are is home.

Then, again, home might be that place we’ve made for ourselves … that place of comfort where the dog greets us at the door with wet kisses, and the cat joyfully jumps into the comfort of our arms … that place where we cohabitate with our spouse, significant other, children, roommate, or whoever else happens to be a regular part of our lives. Maybe home is that place where the neighbors are familiar and where the clerk in the local store knows us by name.

Engaging in mission, I have yet another thought about “home.” As I sit down to dinner in the house of a local church leader, share lunch with children in an orphanage, meet with a bishop over a cup of coffee, I have this stirring in my heart that brings me great joy. I feel a fullness in my heart and soul that I don’t always experience elsewhere in my life. In such moments, I often say to myself, “Ah, I’m home.” To use a cliché, maybe home is where the heart is. As Christians, and specifically for missioners, our heart isn’t always in the familiar or the comfortable, but yet deeply embedded in our faith. For me, I feel as though I’m “home” in Christ when I’m a pilgrim, putting my faith, trust, and hope in God.

Hmmm … Home?!! … Where’s “home” for you? Is it a place? Is it a feeling? Maybe “home” is all of these things. Maybe as we carry Christ in our hearts, throughout our daily lives, home is anywhere we want it to be. Maybe “home” is just a state of mind. Maybe home is wherever we feel “at home.” I own a house in Boston … I’m currently living with a host family in Cochabamba, Bolivia … I have a good start on setting up an apartment in Colombia, where I intend to live for the foreseeable future. All homes, and yet, somehow, not “home.” … Hmmm … Home??! …


One Response to “Home”

  1. Feeling home where you are, wherever you are… beautiful gift! In Swaziland [2004], a retired priest welcomed eleven Iowans, saying, “Welcome to your home. In Swaziland, we believe that a house is not a home until it has visitors. Thank you for making this house a home…” Happy homebeing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: