We love posting pictures of ourselves and our families on social networks to show to our friends and loved ones that we are fine and doing okay. We’d like to have them believe that we have moved on with our lives and that we have started to make a new life here in the new place that we live in. We want to believe that somehow, things will, indeed, be okay and that we will move on. Move on to where, is the question that keeps hanging in my mind. I guess this will never be completely answered, considering that for the past five years, we moved from one place to another at least four times. The sense of permanence is just that; a sense. It is not a reality in the life of my family and me for the past six years. We have longed for a place where we can really settle down and live our lives as if this will be it for us; that finally, we can find a place to call our home.
Somehow along the way I forgot how it feels like to be home. I don’t mean going home to our house. I mean really finding a place to really call home; a place where I can stay for the rest of my life and not move again and be completely and permanently at home. I am really amazed at knowing some people have stayed in one place their whole life and never moved from their hometown, much less from their home country, except maybe to travel for a vacation. This has not been the reality for me and my family. I am not sure if it is a good thing. I just know that the sense of impermanence in terms of a place to stay has been almost “permanently” hanging in my whole system. We have learned to live with the fact that there are no permanent friends and no permanent communities to take root in. The friends we acquired throughout the years were the people we met along the way who were gracious enough to share a good portion of their lives with us. We do still have and maintain “long-distance” friends. But, it is never the same as having them physically present and sharing a few good talks and laughs. We are definitely grateful for the friendships that still survived through the years despite the distance. It makes you realize who your true friends are. We realize the immense value of time and with whom you spend them with. As much as we can, we try to live in the here and now. We try as much to enjoy and savour the moment. I guess this is one of the side effects of being aware that life is constantly changing. Another side effect is that the plans that we make are usually just short term plans; just enough to serve for a year or two. We have also learned to adjust our lifestyle so that we allow a lot of room for change, especially a change in the place where we live in.
But, the longing for a home is too strong. We immigrated to a new country believing that this will be the answer to our desire for a permanent place. In the few months that we have “lived” in this new place, the feeling is starting to sink in again that this may not be the case. We know that we can stay here permanently, but can we finally call this place our home? As we look through this situation and try to analyze it; we realize that it is not only permanence that we seek for but we also earnestly long for the sense and feeling of home. We might have achieved the first since we are now permanent residents of this country, but achieving the second may still present as a tremendous challenge. Building a home takes a lot of amount of time. This could amount to building a new life again. This will involve a lot of building of good relationships. There are friends to make, community to try to belong in, the church family to try to be part of, and a job to try to achieve and contribute and be needed in.
Are we up to the challenge? The answer to that question is not a straight yes or no. It is best answered with an emphatic “we have to.” There is no other way to go but forward even though there is a lot of room for failure. But, as we look back all throughout the years that we have been searching for a sense of permanence and looking for a home, there is One who stands as the Rock in our lives. We always have God as our constant and our anchor in the many times that the sea of temporary challenges of life would threaten to engulf us. Amidst all the temporariness of life, we had always found a permanent home in Jesus. Jesus has always been our guide and we need never fear wherever we may be placed in this world. We have learned to trust the One who knows and controls the future. In this world, we may have been far away from a home for a long time, but with Jesus, we have always been at home anywhere. Even though we earnestly want to settle down and make a home, I do believe that this can only be achieved with Jesus on our side. And if, for whatever reason, this may not be achieved in this lifetime, we can always look forward to the permanent home that Jesus has prepared for those who love Him.