The feeling of loss, is one I wrestle with often and one I probably will carry heavy on my heart as long as I live in America, where it’s a constant reminder of being a foreigner, where I constantly find myself longing to grasp on to something familiar that’d bring me comfort and a safe childhood memory and help me be grounded. The truth though is that nothing around me is familiar, it’s all a new reality, a new home and a new comfort that doesn’t go to the depth of this loss that creeps in me when I miss home, my real earthly home where I grew up, where I took my first steps and learned how to talk, read and write. The home where everything is familiar, comfortable and known, where it feels like my whole community is my family, where there is no isolation behind closed doors, where people find serenity amongst being in each others presence.
This sense of home is what my mom brings with her when she comes to visit us from Ethiopia, all the familiarities from my childhood, my old way of life and norms come alive again. This time she stayed with us for ten full beautiful months, and she served us with so much humility and grace. My mom is the real deal, her example to me is and has always been “Less of me and more of Christ”. Tt never fails, she exudes total humility and surrender to the Lord, thus she gives just that to those around her.
This morning we said our goodbyes because she had to go back, but as always I found myself struggling with wanting to follow her, and just go to the place where I know I’ll feel grounded, I can’t lose this comfortable place in my heart and I find myself tempted to go back home. To me, if I didn’t know the Lord, if I couldn’t take comfort in knowing that America or Ethiopia is not my real home but heaven is, I don’t know if I could have walked this immigrant walk well. I’m grateful to the Lord who makes my life and journey meaningful by reminding me the richness of this journey he has me on, and it’s service as a constant reminder of the longing for heaven.
This loss is a tough one because of it’s reoccurance, when you go through a break up or lose a friend, you can grieve the loss in one process no matter how long or short it takes but this loss is so constant and so painful. I’ve been dealing with it for over 14 long years but overtime I think I’ve conquired it, it comes back. It’s as deep and fresh as when I first experienced it as a teenager who left home trusting the calling God had placed in her heart to follow him and make disciples. The pain makes me forget why I’m here in the first place and pushes me to question and reprioritize my life. Is it worth it, is the call to ministry, to life as the other, the outsider and all the sense of unfamiliarity worth being here? But then, when all the emotion hanging over me subdues I remember the reason I’m here, it’s not my doing but the Lord’s. Not my calling but His, and not my journey but one he paved for me, so I end up saying, heck yea! It’s all worth it compared to the face of Christ I get to see clearer and closer every time I experience this loss, the realness of his comfort to my soul, the true community I experience only found among believers, It’s worth it because this loss forces me to rely on Jesus and His people.
I love this verse “….. but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been givento us.” Romans 5:3-5 This is the reality of my soul at the moment, the hope found in trusting God’s work of sanctification in my heart.
It’s a tough journey but, if it wasn’t tough, I would have nothing to help me dig deeper in the word, to find my comfort in the presence of the Spirit of God himself and to let myself break down and watch the father restore me back to the way he wants to remake me. I am a vessel in his hands, and this loss of separating from those I love the most breaks me EVERY TIME! BUT, my father restores me making me stronger than before EVERY TIME….and I wouldn’t trade that for anything! To be in his presence is better than life itself and I know that so well.