I’m really excited to be heading back to the U.S. at the end of the week. Well, truthfully, mostly excited. It’s a perfect case of Yay and Yuck Duck.
Yay, I get to see family and friends. I haven’t seen my Dad and sister and brother since we were all together in March of 2011. I’m looking forward to cousins and uncles and aunts. To reconnecting with friends that go back all the way to Grade 3 and up to just a bit before I moved.
To walking into a store (after parking in a big, lovely, paved, lined parking lot!) and have everything I want right there. To having things make sense, feeling in place.
Of course, that last one is going to be interesting! Will I feel ‘in place’? It’s been a long time, and I’m not the same person I was when I left. At times I look at posts on Facebook and my first response is, “Really?!” Yes, that’s probably true of everyone at times. But, more and more I’m feeling disconnected.
I’m not naïve. I know a lot of my posts elicit the same response! Well, that and, “Eww, ick!”, when I write about cockroaches and dead frogs!
So, will I be able to relate, or will I joyfully hug friends and then fall into awkward silence as we run out of things to say after 15 minutes? I take comfort knowing that over and over again God has shown me that friendships based in Him grow and even become richer despite years and miles apart.
There are Yucks, too. I’m going from the tropics to the Midwest. Today I walked outside in short-sleeves, and actually started sweating in the bright Dominican sunshine! Right now it’s cooled down and I’m in a sweatshirt. How cool? Oh, probably somewhere in the 60’s. See why I’m worried!
But, the biggest Yucks are all of those I’m going to miss here. The little ones who hang out at the Site in El Callejon, our English class, my friends in Mata de Platano, and, of course, Carlos. I have a life, love, and meaning here, and I’m going to miss all of that.
No, living here is still not all comfortable and easy, but it’s where I call home. Well, part of my home. “When are you going home?” we’ve all been asking each other. It gets confusing. Going home or Coming home? The U.S. or the D.R.?
The fact is, I’m leaving home and heading home. Because living and working cross-culturally means always missing something, always missing “someones”. It means always feeling just a little homesick.
After all ‘home is where the heart is’, and my heart has been split into more than one piece. Here in the D.R., there are so many things, and so many people, I miss back in the U.S. When I’m home there, I know I’ll miss things, and people, home here.
I think of Jesus, who left Home to come and make His home here with us. Did He get Homesick? I think maybe He did.
Our citizenship is not in any worldly place, but in Heaven. And from there we eagerly await our returning Savior. Until then, we live in the tension. Maybe I’m feeling it a bit more these days, but it’s something all of us who follow Christ live in.
It makes sense if you think about it. Jesus lived ‘cross-culturally’ so to live like Him, we need to, as well. Oh, not necessarily moving to another earthly place, but understanding that any place on earth is not our final Home. Yes, we need to serve and love and pour into this place, but always with the realization that it’s not the end.
As I anticipate God-with-us coming, I look forward to His second-coming, when we will no longer have split hearts, because all of our being - mind, body, and yes, heart, will be where we belong. Until then, bring on the Yays and the Yucks!