Home…what a loaded word. I typically dislike it, well, sometimes hate it. I remember during my years of living in Bangkok, the artist Michael Búble came out with a song titled Home. Each time I heard it tears would stream down my cheeks. I was so far away from any home I knew and if I was honest with myself I didn’t really feel like I had a home. We had moved around so much and everything we ever lived in was always rented. Each time we moved to a new house that we would watch for someone while they were on furlough in the States I only got to pack my stuff animals and only the clothes that fit for the next school year.
I can’t say that all that moving was bad. I had lived in so many different and cool houses, especially when my parents were teachers in Bogota, Colombia. One year we lived in a what to a 5th grader seemed like the biggest house in the world. It was super long and each room had a full wall murals of a beautiful nature scene. I got to sleep in a room of pin forests that surrounded a small mountain lake. The kitchen in this house was decorated with everything Coca Cola. Even the phone was a coke bottle. I loved to show off the house when friends came over. I also remembered the large indoor garden right in the middle of the house. I used to sit near it to do my homework in the afternoons; that was because our electricity was regularly turned off during the evenings. I did as much as I could by the sky light before I had to finish the rest of my homework by candlelight.
Still we only lived in that house for less than a year and we continued to jump year to year to different apartments or houses. It was only till we moved to Ecuador that we actually stayed in the same apartment for most of my parents 11 years in Quito. That apartment I would considered the closest I came to what people typically call “home,” but it was still my home during my high school and college years.
Now thinking about the States, we truly never stayed anywhere for a long time. Life seemed to exist on the road, a hotel or a gracious family’s spare bedroom, but there was one house that was key to our consistency in our travels. We had a very kind lady keep our mail for us and let us use her house as our permeant address during all our travels. She was our constant we could count on. I called her Neek just like her nephews and nieces. My first summer job was living with her and learning how to drive to and from the daycare. I even moved back in with her after my assignment in Thailand was over. Surprisingly, she still lives in that same house in Central Florida. I am very grateful for that consistency. I still consider that to be our second “home.”
Home…I cringe at the sound that that word. Even now I have finally stayed put in two places longer than two years which seems to be a miracle for me. I know the old quote is “Home is where the Heart is”, but what if my heart is split. What if I left a little of it in Southeast Asia, a little in South America, a little in North Carolina and a little in Florida. Will my heart ever be satisfied? I sit here in NW Arkansas thinking that I don’t completely belong here. I do love it here. This has been the first time I haven’t tried to find a new state to move when the two year mark hit. Now if the opportunity for us to move opened up, I would be the first to say yes. I thrive on the unknown. I am a challenger that wants to be pushed to a new level, but the challenge that I find is hard to overcome is the culture I live in now. I don’t relate. I don’t want the biggest house on the block. I don’t want the newest car, unless it has 4 wheel drive and can go off road. I don’t want the American dream.
So how do I survive in the American dream society and not be sucked into the phrase “keeping up with the joneses.” My calling needs to be bigger than me. I am not saying having the American dream is all bad. It only turns unhealthy when the dream is all about me while putting God on the back-burner and not even asking him about what he wants for my life.
I still can’t fit in here even when I try. My dreams are different from others and that is okay. Maybe my dream is to just be still and teaching my daughter that it is okay to be still. Maybe my dream is to build strong deep friendships with a few than social media comments and random text messages. Maybe my dream is help others fulfill their God driven dreams. My dream is not to have an “American Home”, but to make my house a home for strangers and foreigners who feel the same as me, a little lost between worlds.