My eyes opened on Friday morning just in time to catch the first light.The African mountains were stirring outside our window, their splendor awakening with every inch of the sun’s rising. I lay close to Taylor in our own warm bed and fought away the air’s winter chill, my heart both soaking in the moment and readying for the ones that were to come. My thoughts were taking me to this life of mine. You see, our normal has evolved into its own unique story of patterns and routines and expectations. Our emotions have primed themselves for certain circumstances and triggers and experiences. We have officially taken custody of the daily rhythms of life flowing throughout our path here on this tiny dot on a map across the world we call our home. This African life we live is not one of greater proportions than that of anyone else. It is not grand or celebratory or wild. It is simply what it is: our life. Last year about this time, we were leaving Africa ready to get back for a time to our life in America. This year, we are leaving our life in Africa to get back for a time to America. The difference is substantial.
Fast forward 48 hours ahead from that Friday morning sunrise. Bags have been weighed, planes have been boarded, dry recycled air breathed, weirdly timed meals consumed, and heads bobbed in and out between fitful sleep. The final set of wheels screeched to a stop on the runway and we finally met family with sweet, familiar embraces. Home. This morning my eyes again opened just in time to catch the first light. The creek was trickling outside our window and the birds were exchanging songs, the sweet smell of the farm dancing in the air. I lay close to Taylor in the cozy guest room bed and welcomed the summer breeze as it slipped through the cracked window. My heart both treasured and pondered the moment.
It’s a difficult thing to describe: this veil that rests between life in two separate places. We know both worlds so well. They have both been ours and are both still ours, yet feelings that suggest this coexistence of worlds is unobtainable poke at every beloved memory of the past and every dream for the future. Who am I? Where am I going? What do I want? Lord, you are my portion, my desire, and my satisfaction. Let me find my “normal” in the familiar touch of your fingers around my heart. Allow me to identify with the image of You woven into my being when there is no longer a way to define myself by a society or a lifestyle or a long term plan. Make my home your heart.
Growing up I was the self-proclaimed “Old Faithful.” Football game going on? I’m there. Family function to be had? Yes please. Dinner with everyone tonight? Count me in. The togetherness of family and the comforts of home have always been irresistible to me. In them live so much joy and laughter and fullness. The luxury in being real and known and loved is unsurpassed. And we will spend the next few weeks basking in those very moments of HOME. To be home is refreshing and fills our souls with deep breaths of rest. But over time our hearts have shifted to recognize that while time at home is precious, it is not what gives life. We serve the Giver of Life. We worship the Bread and Water that satisfy our souls. We follow the Shepherd that leads us into green pastures of peace and comfort, knowing that He will not lead us anywhere but into His best for us. Right now, our minds are tired. Our hearts still sometimes ache for earthly pleasures that seem far away. We find ourselves yearning for home and family and “normal.” But more than anything else, above all those other desires, we are overflowing with praise for a Father that sees us and knows us. His faithfulness is a normal part of daily life as we witness Him show up again and again to meet our deepest needs and desires. God is good all the time. He is good at home and He is good far away. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Life and rest are found in trusting in that promise.
Praise the Lord.
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there; if I rise on the wings on the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast."