that we should call it homeAugust 19, 2015
It’s three weeks since we left this little corner of the globe for our holiday, if that word rightly applies. Having been ‘back’ a few days now, got my head around the change, the return, the messing up of schedules and the run-off of trinkets with new homes to be found, I’m sitting again in the familiar chair pondering what I learnt, how I moved, and how much was my soul watered and relaxed by the break.
It’s a missionaries prerogative to return home and yet not really know where that is. Mission work does that, it waters down the notion of home, condenses it into a suitcase and all the while expands it’s borders. It’s a addictive feeling, something I can only faintly liken to having a long distance relationship, the pull of the other always carried while the weight of the present feels comfortably right. It splits you, breaks you, and mends you in a way that leaves your feet itching and heart wild. And it should be addictive, it should be painful, and it should be mundanely wonderful every time your feet hit that new soil.
The addictive nature of it can tempt our independent lives to play the ‘until the next time’ game, can leave mission open-ended in the wrong sort of manner. All mission should be open ended, relationships and support should not die as the flight leaves the runway, interdependence should not be left hanging, but equally long term mission is a very different thing to missionary as a lifestyle. Long term mission is a commitment as binding as the vows given upon our wedding day. It’s a decision made by definite choice, a choice that demands to be, gladly or painfully, renewed every morning. It’s writing the end date in the sand and being open to the wind blowing it away, that security gone, there is no ‘next time’ any-more, it’s just time.
Going ‘home’ becomes a sort of bitter sweet holiday, ties are reconnected and shredded once again, promises of connection renewed to fade as days pass, stories exchanged, pleasantries uttered, occasional truths leaked.
Going ‘home’ gives glimpses of the other life we could have had, the one we turned down, dangled like carrots in our faces.
Home churches become sending churches and every second in them feels bitter sweet. As I stood in the final church service singing my heart out to ‘when I was lost’ I recognised that this was my survival food, my rations for the journey. It wouldn’t matter if the journey was off to university, out to the daily grind of work or off around the globe. This was my travel pack, my inner child’s teddy bear, it was that thing held tightly and only set down at a place designated home. This faith gave me a constant travel companion, and while my home may move His home remained in me.