‘Are you looking forward to going home?’ people kept asking me when I was moving from London back to Slovakia in August 2017.
‘No, not really,’ I said every single time.
How was I supposed to look forward to leaving a place where I had so many people who loved me and cared about me getting to know God better? It It’s not as if there were no such people back in Slovakia but it felt like it’s not meant to be like this, we’re not meant to have people we love far away from us, slowly drifting apart.
How can I ever feel at home anywhere if I never have all the people who I love and who have shaped who I am close by? You might say this is an unrealistic goal. Maybe. But WHAT IS HOME ANYWAY?
I came to London five years ago with the feeling that life could finally, finally start after a lot of wandering in my life. I had a job, I would have friends in abundance, probably a boyfriend, a flat, a lifestyle. I would belong, I would be in the place I’d always felt was home but in which I’d never actually managed to live.
But the friends I had drifted into relationships and away from me, I moved from flat to flat, from one role into the next. As I knew the truth better I could see how empty the lifestyle was – London was only ever good for reminding you of what you didn’t have – a partner, a good enough flat, a nice enough holiday, enough money to really enjoy the London life. And my church felt all the more strange because it was the place that should have felt most like home, and yet never did – people who are there still felt distant and largely separate, the people I loved left because God had called them elsewhere.
People say I have unrealistic expectations of friendship and life and I’d be more content if I could just accept things as they are. But is it wrong to want to feel you belong somewhere among people you know well? - IS IT WRONG TO WANT TO BE HOME?
Home is where we belong, where we are loved, where we’re told we’ll always be safe, and that people will never leave. This is what we all want and need. And yet, it’s just impossible. Even the best homes, with the best people who love us the most, can’t really keep us safe forever, and we all know no one can promise they won’t ever hurt us or they won’t ever leave. Because even if they don’t, people die. And then our homes are never going to be properly homes again.
We all say it’s ok, it doesn’t matter that much, we can learn to live in a world with shattered pieces of home. We say we can learn to belong everywhere and nowhere. We can accept people who occupy places in our hearts leaving for all sorts of reasons or to all sorts of places but NO! Despite what we say, we’re not really ok with it and we never will be.
As Christians though we have something better to hope in. The Bible says it’s ok to long to be in a place where we belong, where we are loved, where we are safe and where there are no goodbyes and no distances. Because God made us to want and need these things. To be in a proper relationship with him, face to face, and to be a people united in him.
The Bible also says that this world is not where they are going to be found. God says we need to be rescued from this world that is a broken home to a new world where he will be in the centre and all the things that are wrong here will be fixed.
This blog is about what it is like to know this world is not our home and never will be and how knowing that there IS a home to look forward to shapes how we live on our way there. It is about learning that our journey is not about trying to cling more and more to whatever imperfect pieces of home we have here. Rather, it is about seeing God and his love for us in Christ more and more clearly, seeing our home with him more and more brightly, and ultimately being more homesick for there than anywhere on this earth.
We talked a lot about this before and since Lea left London. This blog is going to include posts largely based on the conversations we have had about this topic.