Even though I’m sitting here in Portland International Airport, it’s still hard to believe that it’s time to go back. On the one hand, I feel like I just got to America, was just getting used to riding in a huge car without a passenger, just getting used to the enormousness that is Target and just settling back into life and friendships. But on the other hand, I feel like I’ve been away from Laos FOREVER.
In preparing to go back, a weird phenomenon has taken place – I’ve come down with a mild case of identity crisis. I call it the I’m-in-limbo-between-two-places-and-don’t-know-where-I-belong syndrome. People who suffer from I’m-in-limbo-between-two-places-and-don’t-know-where-I-belong syndrome are often nomads, have strong ties to more than one place and enjoy traveling. If you suspect you know someone with I’m-in-limbo-between-two-places-and-don’t-know-where-I-belong syndrome, listen to their speech. Have you ever heard them participate in this conversation…?
Me: “I’m so excited to go home! I mean… Back to Laos!”
Mom: “Yeah! I can’t wait to see Laos. Err, um… Your home!”
Me: “The first thing we’ll do when we get home, or… uh… Laos is see my dog!”
Mom: “I can’t believe you have a dog in Laos! Eh, well… Your home!
In limbo between two places is a difficult place to be. You’re always in a long distance relationship, either with your friends and family from “home” or your friends/teammates/ coworkers/etc. from your “other home.” It’s also emotionally exhausting because you’re constantly saying goodbye to people when you travel between each place. And on top of that, it’s confusing because so much of who we are is developed out of where we come from. My first year at Moody, I resented anyone who referred to Chicago as my home because I had so much pride in being an Oregonian. I never wanted that to be stripped of my identity. And I never wanted to have to choose between the two.
But the Bible teaches us something different about being “home.” All throughout the Book of John, Jesus says abide in ME. Abide is a verb meaning to live so what Jesus is saying is live in me, make your home in me. We aren’t to abide in a single place or a structure, we are to abide in Jesus Christ. That’s good news for a girl who has lived in 10 different places since graduating high school (not to mention the countless couches I’ve surfed on visits home).
See, I don’t abide in Salem, OR or Chicago, IL or even Vientiane, Laos for that matter. I abide in Jesus Christ, and therefore, no matter where I am in this world, I’m always at home.