Thursday, March 6, 2014

We Sat Down and Wept, When We Remembered Zion

"Why are you so cute?"

I heard that refrain frequently during my childhood. I have to admit, I was cute.

Some days, like today, I gaze at my reflection in the morning mirror and hear a different refrain brought on by the harshness of time. "What happened?" The dark circles under my eyes. The white strands that salt my hair. The hairs that sprout from ears, nose and brow.

Superboy on his Steed
As I opened my sock drawer this morning, I stumbled upon a Ziploc bag which my mom sent me a few years ago. It's filled with pictures of that cute kid. I thumbed through those memories and found myself wondering, "What happened to that kid?" Untroubled by life. Unwearied by animosity. Unaware of stress. His greatest concern, what adventures would Superboy and his trusty steed get into today?

I think about those days and my eyes begin to well up with tears, my throat starts to tighten. I imagine that this is how the displaced Israelites must have felt as they sat down by the waters of Babylon. How had they ended up here? How they missed their home! Would they ever return?

I have lived in the Midwest now for more than half my life. Yet, the Warm Heart of Africa will always be "home." I have no family there. No friends. No connection at all. Except for memories. Sweet memories of swinging from bamboo trees, and exploring the forests and fields on my bicycle. (My parents were always amazed that no matter where we went, someone always seemed to recognize me. We could be all the way across town and hear someone call out my name in an accent that changes rs to ls and ls to rs: "El-lick-ee!")

I have no idea if I will ever return. I want to. My heart yearns to return. And yet, it doesn't. I don't want to be disappointed by what I might find. What I want is a return to my youth. But life only offers us a one-way ticket.

The reality of life as the child of a pastor (and as one who became a pastor) is that you move, a lot. Since the age of thirteen, I have never lived in any location for more than four years. Until now. This week I will have called the Thumb of Michigan home for five. If anything, that experience helps me to understand and appreciate all the more, the reality of life as a child of God.

I am but a stranger here; heaven is my home.

1 comment:

  1. I've enjoyed reading your blog each day. It gives me something to think about. I've always wanted to go to Africa and was part of two trips in college--one to Kenya and one to Liberia-- but both trips fell through before we could go. One day I hope to visit.