“The same sun that rises over castles and welcomes the day
Spills over buildings into the streets where orphans play
And only You can see the good in broken things
You took my heart of stone, and You made it home
And set this prisoner free”
– Bethany Dillon
Year #4. Our bodies have acclimated to the Bahrain summer temperatures, forcing us to wear more layers than we once did while visiting California this summer. I am suffering from jet lag and as I write, the sun in its orange glory is rising over the lazy ocean water in our “backyard”. The window has succumbed to the humidity and is dripping with sweat.
Two years ago I would have been cursing the weather and longing for temperate California days; yesterday, I chuckled at the sight of Cayden and Anya in the rear view mirror with ice-filled zip lock bags on their foreheads, sitting in our AC-less car in 110- degree weather, 90% humidity. I can assure you they were not finding any humor in it and truth be told, I wasn’t either about fifteen minutes into the drive. But there has come, over time, an acceptance of these differences; I no longer fight the urge to buy a one-way ticket home. We are home.
I was asked time and time again this summer if we planned on returning, with all that is going on in the Middle East right now. The same question has been asked for the last three years, and this is the first year I could say yes with a sense in my heart that I am returning home.
This transformation in me, this redefining of ‘home’, did not transpire with a single wave of grief and heartache washing over me; rather, it evolved over days, months and years of almost being swept under with the current, trying desperately to rise to the surface and find my breath and my way. Of learning to ride with the swell of the waves rather than swimming against them, hoping to wash up on an island that resembled the home I knew, the home that was safe, reliable and familiar.
“[It is like] the night sea journey, the lone fisherman on a tropical sea with his nets, and you let these nets down – sometimes, something tears through them that leaves them in shreds and you just row for shore, and put your head under your bed and pray.” –Terence McKenna
It took innumerable sunrises, sunsets and crashing waves to realize that that which I was homesick for, I would not find if I were to return. I longed for what I wouldn’t find: the past. My memories were holding me hostage, their chains painfully digging into my shredded heart. I needed to let go of my yesterdays, accept the countless ways my life had changed, and begin living my todays.
I learned my desire for home was a desire to be whole, to know myself and to be known, to belong; it was to feel important for this world. I have had to find that here, in Bahrain- and will have to find it again when this beautiful journey takes us elsewhere. Indeed, if I can take home with me in my heart wherever I go, I will never be lost.
I have had to fine-tune, if not amend, my definition of home – home is right here, right now, wherever that ‘here’ may be. My past home is a part of me that cannot be sold or lost or taken away – its people and friendships, its places of beauty, even its imperfections and sufferings. It will always be a part of me. And my ultimate Home is not even on this earth – I have a much greater home to look forward to. “Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me. There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3