When the movie The Wizard of Oz opens , we see a cozy farmstead. That all familiar first scene of seeing Dorthy balance on a fence and fall into the pig pen and her uncle comes to “rescue” her sets up a picture of a comfortable, safe, caring home. Couple that with Aunt Em and the “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” song, and we really believe, and feel that there truly is no place like home. As a matter of fact we want to live on that farm with sweet Aunt Em! All throughout the movie, Dorthy’s one goal is to get back home to that comfortable place and she knew EXACTLY where that was, in Kansas.
When we moved to Belize, I was so excited. This was to be our new “home” after moving around so much in Arizona I was finally going to be able to set up my pretty little house, with the trinkets I brought from the States. We would live much more simply but I would still have my house, my bed, my bathroom… a place that was mine to call home. It actually took about six months before we were able to build a small bungalow to call our own. By that time I had experienced the realities of being a missionary; the isolation, the depression and the question “Why did you bring us here Lord?” Now more than ever did I want a place of my own. Yet even after we moved in I still had that ever-present thought: “I want to go home.” This frustrated me, especially after two years passed and I still felt that way from time-to-time. Why could I not get that “homey” feeling? Even after living in the village and feeling more “at home” than I ever have I still “wanted to go home”.
Our home assignment neared and then we have to leave the field early because of Malachi’s diagnosis. Finally we were going home, the place we felt the most comfortable. Our “Kansas”. The anticipation mounted as time drew near. Yes, I would miss Belize dearly, but I felt I could not click my heals soon enough to be on familiar soil. The rush and excitement and the sorrow of being home was very overwhelming. I breathed a sigh of relief because Malachi could get the care he needed (and I was able to finally get a decent steak). We were overjoyed to be reunited with family and friends and be in familiar surroundings.
I was caught off guard one day when that old familiar feeling came back. My heart said, “I WANT TO GO HOME.” “Where?” I asked. Where did I want to go? When I was in Belize I wanted to go home and when I finally got “home” I wanted to go back to Belize! But Even if I went back to Belize I knew I would feel that same desire to go home again. I have since talked to other missionaries who have experienced the same thing. It’s a restlessness from moving so much, it’s not fitting in in our host countries and then it’s not feeling at home anymore in the United States. It is that light bulb moment when you realize: HOME IS NOT A PLACE.
We began telling Evangeline and Ellis that home is not a place, it is where our family is. Wherever, Mommy and Daddy and siblings are is where “home” is. Recently though we have been preparing Evangeline that we will not be staying in the United States. Eventually we will move to another country. She asked John why we had to move so much and he explained to her about how we work for God and He tells us where to go. The other night she looked at me and said, “Mommy, this is not our home, heaven is our real home.” She has been saying that a lot lately. How right she is.
This restlessness I feel about home, I want it to be used for something more than just a reminder that I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere, that I don’t have a “real home”, a tangible home. I want it to serve a greater purpose. A reminder that this world is not my home. Should I really feel comfortable here? Hebrews 13:14 says, “For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.” Peter calls us “aliens and exiles”. We should not feel at home on this earth. Heaven is my real home. When I have that feeling that I “want to go home” I want to connect that with being home with my Heavenly Father in paradise, my true Kansas.