My husband and I have begun to feel the stirrings of homesickness.
Generally, everyday life, especially with children, has its routines and does not allow for a lot of sitting around and contemplating. You just do it on the run.
Of course you speak Chinese if you go out in public.
Of course you walk half a mile to the market, through the alleyway, to get the best deal on vegetables.
Of course you breathe in the heady scent of cherry blossoms and revel in the shocking green of spring, and also earn a dozen or so mosquito bites whenever you step outside.
Of course we provide entertainment to scores of people on the metro, either because we are wearing only one layer of clothing in the winter, or because the baby is toppling over from belly laughing at an impromptu game of peekaboo.
Ah, but I am beginning to remember my old “of course’s,” and I recognize that life is a little different now. Most of all I miss our beloved friends and churches, but now I sometimes feel a yearning for things I never thought were special, like driving to the grocery store to buy whatever groceries we crave. It is in those moments that it hits me—we moved to a new country!
What on earth? What were we thinking??
It is not that I do not like it here. I love our new home with all my heart, not because I have a naïve view of it, but because God made this land and people—and they are lovely.
It is okay to feel the paradox of loving two places, and okay to remember our previous home of decades. Thankfully we can keep up with our loved ones from a distance, but I know that what used to be home to us will never be the same. People will move, or move on, and our lives will never again intertwine in exactly the same way. We will miss their special times and they will miss ours.
The good thing about this tension is that it forces me to face reality, the reality that is so easy to forget when we are comfortable. We are not meant to spend our lives honing a system of maximum pleasure and comfort. We are meant to spend our very selves for God’s Kingdom. We are here not because we have calculated that settling in Taiwan will give us the best possible life. We are here in answer to God’s call as beggars who have been given bread and are eager to share this bread with anyone we can, in a place where most people are living and dying without Christ. We are here to be a small part of God’s plan, watching in awe as He expands His Kingdom to include every tribe, every tongue, and every nation.
Question to consider: How are you spending your life? Are you “honing a system of maximum pleasure and comfort” or spending yourself for God’s Kingdom?
About the author
Kathleen is a daughter of God in awe of how He brought her from death to life, happy wife to Jonathan, and grateful mother to four kids. They serve in Taipei, Taiwan at Christ's College with Mission to the World, where Kathleen nurtures and disciples her children, learns Chinese, and builds fruitful relationships with women. She earned her master's degree in counseling and she is passionate about fostering healing for women who are wounded and the flourishing of families.View all articles by: Kathleen Shumate
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