Being home but not really being home
We heard the cry of the African Fish Eagle this morning, that beautiful, haunting, distinguishable cry. We looked up and saw the parents and their young soaring high above us. I watched, spellbound, and I was so happy to be home after two years in Central Asia.
Here, back home, I feel happy and alive again. I feel like I've found a part of myself that's been missing for so long, the part of myself that is confident and carefree and in control. I'm comfortable here. Comfortable to speak in the languages I'm familiar with, comfortable to drive the familiar roads, to find groceries in familiar stores and to worship in my heart language.
My children are comfortable here too. They're surrounded by people who look like them. Nobody stops them in the street to feel their curly African hair or to take their picture. Here, they're loved by family and people who have known them since they were born.
I love being home.
But there are things about being here that I've never noticed before, things that make me uncomfortable. There are so many churches here! There are Bibles available to buy everywhere. I wonder if people really appreciate the freedom they enjoy? The freedom to worship together, to meet in homes to study the Bible, the freedom to declare that they follow Jesus without the fear of persecution.
Maybe one doesn't realize what a privilege this is until one lives somewhere like Central Asia, where it's all taken away.
People at home complain about the state of the country and the politics and the roads, but we delight in it all this because we've lived in worse conditions!
At home, it sometimes feels like the unreached people groups have been forgotten, that God's mission to bring all people to Himself has been forgotten. Our peers here are buying bigger, more beautiful houses and cars, and it's tempting to be covetous and at the same time judgemental of their wealth and priorities.
Why are we struggling to raise support to live in a country it's so difficult to live in? Why is reaching the unreached so important to us when it doesn't seem to concern our friends as much? Are we crazy, or are our priorities on their head?
I love being home, but I'm also frustrated by so much of it. My heart is here, and yet I know that we need to be where God is calling us to serve Him in Central Asia.
As we fly back to be where God wants us, I'll carry the echo of the fish eagle's cry in my heart to remind me of home, of who I am and all that I love--but also to remind me of all the reasons why I can't stay.