It has been 11 months since our family moved to Albuquerque. Even with many “This is surreal!” moments, we have adapted to a certain extent. However, when our plane touched down after being away for three weeks, I was greeted with a feeling of sadness. Usually I am eager to get back into our regular routine, but this time there was more grief than relief. It just reminded me that the process of transition is long and making this place truly ours is still happening. This is not a criticism against Albuquerque. We appreciate so much about it and have met many wonderful people here. It is just not truly home yet understandably.
Thankfully soon after returning we had dear Chicago friends visit us. Jenny and her older son Parker spent a long and wonderful weekend here. They are the kind of friends who are more like family. Even though Albuquerque has yet to feel like home, the presence of these folks brought a taste of home to us.
Friends like Jenny got me through 2012. She dutifully drank with me, listened to countless venting sessions, let me cry until my snot created floods, and never failed to remind me that God cares for us in tangible ways through the people He places around us especially in our time of need. While Mike (aka husband of the year) took the boys to Cliff’s all day, we escaped away for a yummy lunch at Vinaigrette before spending hours at Ten Thousand Waves spa. Being tucked away in the mountains and pampered with my soul sister was Christmas in July for me.
After they left, I felt the temptation of a pity party. Ethan said a million different times in a million different ways how much he missed Parker. He was singing a lament the next morning, “Parker, oh, Parker, I’m sad and mad that you left! Parker, oh, Parker…” Even tonight at dinner, Connor prayed that we would have a safe trip to Chicago in anticipation of the next time we see them several months from now. I am thankful that we know what it is like to have deep friendships that leave us aching when they are absent. The fact that their presence is so meaningful is a gift indeed.
Ethan and I had a heart-to-heart conversation about building community here where we are currently planted. It is work. It takes effort and energy, and we miss the ease and depth of Chicago. At the same time, I do not doubt that we are here by divine plan. There are things that we could not have had in our beloved windy city that we can here and those things go beyond great shopping, inventive restaurants and comfortable living. Last night, my accountability partner reminded me of the blessing of discomfort that I had quickly forgotten when those discomforts seemed to overstay their welcome. Because of this not-yet-home feeling, we are being pushed and prodded to pursue Him in ways we may not have otherwise. I hear the call of surrender louder than when it was dimmed in our place of “home.” This is as invaluable as the deep community we left behind. Moses was trained not in the Egyptian palace but in the distant desert. We hope this time of displacement continues to help us answer the call to give it all.
We feel homesick at times especially after being in places or with people who are home to us. I hope that the home we pine for is not simply Chicago and the dear friends we left behind nor our family who spoils us for three weeks in a row, but for where our true citizenship lies. I hope our discomforts continue to give us empathy for others and pushes us towards action until this world is truly home for all.