lundi 18 août 2014

Thoughts on identity

Father & daughter
I have just read the latest post from my daughter's blog on this very subject. I started a reply, & before I knew it, I was writing something as long as a blog post. So it occurred to me that I might just as well post  it!
By way of introduction, I am a TCK (Third Culture Kid) myself. Not a mish kid, as my daughter is, but a bizz kid (Business Kid). I grew up in West Africa, then went to boarding school in England for 11 years. However, the questions & issues that both experiences throw up are very, very similar. My daughter asks in her blog "where do I belong?"

I'm not sure that there is AN answer, nor am I sure that you can make it happen, this feeling of belonging. It's a process that you go through at your own speed. For years & years, when people asked me where I came from I would answer, "from my parents." And it bugged me frequently that I couldn't name a place, a town, a country.

But I remember that moment, in a Prayer Counseling week a few years ago, when Sister Elizabeth looked at me & said, "now I will share with you what the team received from God, for you, before the week began"... (I was totally intrigued, waiting with bated breath - for goodness sakes, these people had received stuff for me, a stranger!) Then she started.
"The first is a word from Isaiah: Your exile is over." Before she could finish asking me how that related to me, I had burst into tears... a very deep torrent of healing tears that welled up from deep within me. And I knew in a flash, just knew it... my home was in God. I had come home.

It didn't matter any more that on earth my home was linked to people, & that I couldn't really pin down a place. And that realization gave me such peace. Curiously, 2 years later I looked up at the lower gate into La Neuveville, where we had lived for 19 years on coming here from Africa, & a surprising thought went through my head: "I belong here." And I really felt it, in spite of the fact that people often remind me that I have such a charming, just a very slight English accent!

Three weeks ago, we moved away from La Neuveville, & the funny thing is that I don't feel at all uprooted. I feel that I belong right where we are now living! And although La Neuveville feels familiar & friendly, I've moved on. Yet as we were preparing to move, I often thought of that phrase from the epistle to the Hebrews: "Here we have no continuing city...". That bugged me because I thought it meant that God would not allow anywhere on this earth to feel home to me. But, interestingly enough, that's not what happened. I do feel right at home.

Perhaps, when we come to realize that our only real home is in God, then we are capable of having several "homes" without it disturbing us. Maybe because we take "Home" with us, wherever we go?

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