Sunday, August 21

You can Never Go Home

When we became missionaries in 2003, we made the decision to rent out our home. It was the first home we'd owned as a married couple and it was tiny. But we'd made it our own. When we were advised to keep it as rental property, I made my peace with the fact that 1. I may never live there again and 2. if I do, it won't be the same. Renters won't care for it the way we did and even if they were careful it will have years more of daily wear and tear on it.

When we came back to Spain this time, we were thinking we'd go into the same house we lived in last term but at the last minute the landlord backed out. So now we are adjusting to a new place to call home. We still have one light fixture to install but other than that it's done. It's feeling like home little by little with all that we've done.

When you grow up and move away from your parent's home, you can go back and visit or even stay for an extended time, but it doesn't feel the same. The thing is you have changed in your absence at college, or with roommates, or getting married. Mom and Dad have moved on in their habits too. It's just not the blissfully ignorant home of childhood when you aren't even aware of the sensation.

On arriving at our Spanish "home" church, we discovered many things had moved on and changed in our absence. Different people on the worship team, a new team of lead pastors -2 we hadn't met previously, and of course a bunch of new people. Nothing bad, but not exactly the same. It's up to us to adapt to our new home again and some days that's just pure work.

We heard recently that our home church in the USA is also going through change. They got a new pastor a few months before we left -- after 29 years of the same one. New people want to do new stuff and often we need to be pried out of old ruts we're in but that doesn't make change any easier. I remember when I was in the 4th grade this same church presented a master plan of expansion. The proposal at that moment in time was just to add a gym, kitchen, and fellowship space, but the master plan included turning the sanctuary to a kids area and tearing down the parsonage to build a bigger sanctuary. I remember being disturbed by that idea in 4th grade and thinking I didn't want them to tear things up. I was a big benefactor of that gym they built through my high school years and even as recently as a Christmas party last year. Now, the sanctuary my parents were married in, my grandpa helped build, I was married in, is giving way, being torn up for a new children's wing. It won't be the same when I go back -- they are moving on and I will have to adapt. My quiet place in a pew on a quiet Sunday night will be no more. You can't go home, but that's part of learning as believers that our permanent home is with Christ in heaven. I've had to learn that as an adult, as a missionary, and now as fellow believer. My comfort and security isn't dependent on a place, it's dependent on Christ.