Photo by Per Ola Wiberg
"There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." -CS Lewis
Quite unintentionally, this quote from Mr. Lewis has become my family's life motto. The four of us (plus one in utero) have just started a one-year hiatus from living abroad, and we're once again going through our modus operandi of opening cardboard boxes and finding homes for our minimal things.
In our seven years of marriage, my husband and I have lived in seven homes. The most recent one was for three years, in a foreign country living among people with a very different worldview from ours.
Such is life with a calling like ours, and we are okay with that. It's not easy at all, mind you, but it is simple. God calls. We go. We trust in faith, and pray a whole heckuva lot.
This current move of ours is temporary. We are taking one year to deal with some family medical issues, and in the meantime, have our third baby and pray about what's next. Where we are currently settling will probably not ever be "home."
Though it's hard, my husband and I can handle it. We ride the bumpy ride called re-entry and reverse culture shock, talk a lot together, and hold hands through the challenges. Our two-year-old son is happy wherever. He was born in a foreign country, and the only home he knows is wherever his family is.
For our five-year-old daughter, however, it's different. One minute, she's thrilled to live near Chick-Fil-A again. The next minute, she's in tears about not being near her friends living abroad. She relishes the public library with books in English. But she misses walking everywhere, and complains from the backseat about logging hours in the booster chair.
For her, home is… everywhere and nowhere. She's a third-culture kid — someone who's not quite home in her passport country, but remains a foreigner in her hosted land.
I don't envy her uncomfortable state. I wish, as her mama, that I could make everything all better and wrap her favorite things about each country into one neat package for her to enjoy. And I hate how lonely my extroverted little girl seems lately.
But in one simple way, I envy her.
Photo by Nicholas
She experiences daily what we should all intimately understand with our every breath: This is not our home. Earth will never be our home. No matter where we live, in whatever bed we sleep, and regardless of the view out our window, we can never legitimately call our landing pad Home.
Sure, we may own the land we tread, and we may even feel at complete peace where God has planted us. But it still will never be Home for us.
See, this is because we were made for another land. Our souls ache for our true Home, and that's why we each have that nagging, unsettled tick in the back of our minds in and out of everyday, when we wish we had that better home, or that nicer body, or that fairytale life. What we search for isn't ours to have here on Earth.
We are longing for heaven; each of us. There, and only there, is our true Home. We can wander the Earth for the rest of our life, and the sweetest paradise we find can only pale in comparison to the place Jesus is preparing for us.
Our Home is in His arms, fully engulfed in His transformed glory.
So in these little words, C.S. Lewis provides me with a healthy reminder of what this life is all about. I am reminded that God can call me to the darkest of valleys or to those seasons of living in a sweet oasis, because:
"Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind."