Whiplash. Home is a word we don’t understand. Moved abruptly from countries and continents, from a place of dust to concrete, in days. From the land of never enough to more than enough to spare. Whiplash.
I am pulled taut from straddling the disparity between that world and this. In this quiet, chaotic space I ponder many things.
As I am pulled between nations and realities, the trees still sway in the wind and the sun still rises in the east, and sets in the west.
Everything shifting, but seasons are still changing before our eyes. We don’t know what our plan is. We don’t have one. Will we be back in Africa in a few months? Our children ask where our home is, and we have no answer. Do plans exist in such a fragile time? But then there is spring. There is summer. There are blossoms budding and we can sit back and just watch it. Our peas our sprouting in this temporary home. The sun is thawing the earth and the crisp breeze feels magical to us, as foreigners in our own land. We wear coats for the first time, we put shoes on our feet, and lie in soft grasses not covered in militant ants, and we marvel.
You would imagine our family’s world would be in chaos. We packed and moved back to our passport country within days. All that we had planned with every flight and every marking on the calendar, has changed. You would imagine the sorrow of our children swept from their lives and being whisked to far-off places, where they don’t remember but are told they’ve been before, where they are told not to see or touch those they have dreamed of hugging for 2 years. Our hearts have not caught up to the grief that is piling up after months of lost opportunities and broken plans. And yet. Yet we are inexplicably joy-filled.
We are in wonder at the world around us. We are wide-eyed as newborns, explorers in a new land of misty mornings and sparkling ocean shores.
The mountains shadow our now-home. We’d forgotten about how much we loved them. The Pacific Northwest forests beckon us and we crawl over the mossy roots and hang from cedar tree limbs and forge trickling, sparkling streams and bike down smooth pathways and marvel at the world around us. Despite all the swirling, confounding, resounding noise of loss, we see anew the miracle of life around us. Every bird singing, every flower blossoming, is a sign that all is not lost. The wonder of the earth springing forth, even as culture and history shifts, remains ever the same. How many generations of blood, sweat and tears has the ground absorbed and carried on, producing life? The sun rises and it sets. It stays up later here, which is a gift beyond measure. Sun doesn’t soak our clothes in sweat, mosquitoes don’t hunt us in our living room. Blossoms look and smell different. We appreciate all that we are seeing around us in new ways. Life goes on.
He has never forsaken us. The earth is still beneath us. Nature stands as a reminder that there is constancy in this weird and fragmented moment in history. Every windy morning and rainy grey day is a mystery unto itself and we are consoled by the constancy of the rhythms of the earth like a mother lulling her child to sleep. As nature shushes our fears and sings us to sleep, we rest. Nature is a playground and we are ready to answer its call to freedom, to imagination, to soul level rest. Even until the end of humanity, this comfort will remain until the Creator Himself steps again on the earth in which He breathed to life.
In this, there is great comfort.
In this, we find relief and hope.
We see and behold this beautiful world anew. And we will gaze at it all with wonder.