I’ve been packing up things to send ahead to the D.R. and trying to figure out how best to sell/donate stuff like my furniture. It’s strange to calculate how many more cardamom pods I think I’ll use between now and then. Which clothes do I want in the D.R. but won’t need before I get there? Which cook books can I do without for the next several months?
Since I will be living out of a suitcase pretty much from the end of May until October, I know I should just send what I’ll need and go ahead and get rid of the rest. But, what if I send away Extending the Table, and then in April really want to make my favorite dal? What will I sit on if I sell my couches too soon? Where’s that fine line between comfort now and having the right things there later? I also know my concern in these small things is actually part of the larger fear of this next chapter in my life.
It reminds me of storing up treasures in Heaven. No, I’m not saying that the D.R. is Heaven (although, the mango and pineapple are mighty tasty!). What I mean is, I say I believe my citizenship is in Heaven, and that I am to store up (send ahead) my treasures there. As a Christ-follower, I am invited to live in the freedom which comes from holding all things lightly. Instead, however, like my debate about what to pack now, I clutch ever so much more tightly when things get scary. And, whether it’s the larger world or our own lives, I think most of us would agree it’s rather scary these days!
Another thought about citizenship. I was never more Canadian than when I stepped onto
’s campus my freshman year. (Calvin is in Calvin College .) I was born, and lived my first 18 years in Grand Rapids, Michigan . Something about being in the Canada made me fiercely loyal to my birth country. Admittedly, I went way overboard and came off as slightly kooky, with a giant maple-leaf shaped chip on my shoulder! I even wrote an outraged Letter to the Editor about some slight joke regarding Canadian currency. Not my proudest literary moment! U.S.
I’m not proposing we obnoxiously tout the place of our true citizenship, but are we loyal to it? Is being here on earth so comfortable that we forget our real Home? Do we have ‘Kingdom’ accents, or have we adjusted our speech patterns to here? The longer I’ve lived in the States, the less Canadian I’ve become. An occasional “Eh” still does crop up, but I’m far more likely to say “Y’all” now. If my citizenship, my treasure, is firmly elsewhere, shouldn’t that be reflected in my life? Shouldn’t the way I live point to somewhere (SomeOne) else?
None of this means I don’t care deeply about my ‘adopted’ country. In fact, it should free me up to do whatever it takes to make an impact. What’s the worst that can happen? I can be ‘deported’, but that means I get to go Home! What was it the Apostle Paul said? To live is Christ and to die is gain. To live is working in this broken world, to die is to go to our true Home. Either way, God is glorified, and my treasure is secure!
Wow, I’m so far from this. I confess I try to combine my Heavenly home with my earthly one. I want the best parts of here and now plus the best parts of then and there. It’s like saying, “How y’all doing, eh?” (Yes, I have said some variation of that on occasion!) I like to think I’m managing this juggling act, but am I really? Like my desire to send things ahead to the D.R. without sacrificing any of my current comfort, I can wind up spiritually exhausted by trying to hold on and let go at the same time.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’m not saying I won’t miss certain ‘fun’ things. What I am saying is this: What if… what if God’s way really is the most freeing? What if I by limiting my ‘treasure’ here, I am more able to stay focused on There? Focused on the fact that it’s going to be so good I don’t want anyone here to miss out? I think about how amazing my favorite dal is going to taste after not being able to enjoy it for six months. How much more amazing to be in our true Home, sharing in the treasure of spending eternity with Jesus! Isn’t that worth a little discomfort here? Now, to get packing!