Friday, February 22, 2013

for when home seems a long way off...

The tears suddenly prick the back of my eyes as I say it.

"But - this side makes me feel more like we're in - " and I say the name of the country we live in.  The country we're going back to.  The one we live in reluctantly sometimes, the second-choice place.  Our first choice is out of our reach.  And despite our discontent at times, the second-choice place has gradually come to feel like home.

Tonight we're in yet another hotel room, still en route, still floating in mid-air, still transitioning.  I do remember that all of life is a transition.  We really are headed to heaven.  Just sometimes, I feel the transition more than others, like when we're sleeping in one bed after another...

I'm sprawled in pajamas on the right-hand side of this bed, the side James was sitting on just a minute ago.  I've collapsed in his spot after brushing my teeth at the end of another long shuttlebus-airplane-shuttlebus-taxi day.  I'm looking at email on his computer, so he sits down on the other side, the left-hand side, pulls my computer over and starts scrolling... Eventually he says, "Do you want that side?  This side's closer to Ruby..." Her little bed is in the corner, with her fast asleep in it right now, content.  No matter what continent we're on, as long as there is warm milk whenever she wakes, warm arms to hold her, warm kisses on her sweet face, she's content.  Am I?

I do know this world is not even my home, I'm just passing through... Am I holding on too tight to this world?  Or is this tightening in my throat, the hot tears pricking, are these the signs of "homesick" in a good way?  This "second-choice" place where God has planted us - could it be that since it's His first choice for us, He's knitting it into our hearts?

I snuggle under the covers on this right-hand side, pull the blanket up over my face.  Block out the world.  Hide, just for a minute.  "This side feels... more like home."  Admitting to myself that the road feels long.  That six months is a long time to be away from the only bed we own in the world.  And even though we only own the bed, not hardly anything else in the house, at least it's something.  

At least I know which side I sleep on.  The right.

{Sometimes I can't remember.  I have to close my eyes and picture the wall in our bedroom back there - feel the bed in my mind, see the surroundings, my bedside table, our wardrobe, my desk - before I can remember which side I sleep on.  That's when I know I've been away too long.}

Only God can do that, can knit a place to your heart and a bed to your soul in a way that makes it feel like home, even when not one single mouth in our village speaks our heart language.  We speak theirs, and their hearts connect to ours, and that's what feels like home.  That, and familiarity.  Doing the same habits over and over until they become like breathing: our verse calendar at breakfast.  Reviewing my verses in the bathroom.  Sleeping on the same side of the bed.  Making pancakes.  Walking to the shop.  Stopping by a friend's house.  Those are the things that feel like home.

Those are the things I miss.

I sniff, and crawl over to the other side of this bed, the side closer to Ruby tonight, the side not mine.  I don't mind, not really.  We're not back yet, so it doesn't really matter.  And all this transitioning does remind me that I'm still en route to our Real Home, that I'll be sleeping in different beds for the rest of my life, until I sleep my final sleep and wake up in my Savior's arms.

But when we do finally get back, back to our second-choice turned first-choice, back to the only bed we own in this world right now, I will snuggle in to sleep on the right-hand side... and it will feel good.

It will feel like home.


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