It’s a beautifully cool summer morning and I’m sipping hot coffee on the back porch. The squirrels are scampering through the trees and a family of ducks is quacking its way up the nearby stream. Inside, my nieces and nephews are playing with my sons, supervised by their great-grandmother, and my mother-in-law’s strawberry rhubarb pie is waiting for me on the kitchen counter. I am home.
We arrived back in the U.S. six weeks ago for a few days of vacation with family. Some medical tests revealed that my husband needed surgery while we were here, so our vacation time extended into medical leave.
The first couple of weeks back were idyllic. We spent time catching up with our family and friends. We went camping, played mini golf, attended barbecues and frequented our favorite restaurants. We exulted in the lack of humidity and the abundance of air conditioning. We were welcomed with open arms everywhere we went. It felt like home.
It was quickly apparent, however, that home was not as it used to be. Family members have moved houses; friends have moved away. Local businesses have closed and others have opened. Our old house is inhabited by someone else and we don’t own a car.
As we were preparing for our return to Haiti, I realized that I missed home. The other one. The one where palm branches wave in the tropical breeze and thunder rolls just overhead. Where greetings are spoken in French and Haitian Creole. Where my kids don’t watch television commercials and people aren’t quite so glued to their electronic devices.
The missionary life requires the ability to live in two highly disparate worlds. The catch is that while we can operate in both, we belong to neither; half of our heart is always elsewhere. I am grateful for people and things to love in both the United States and in Haiti, but even more grateful for an omnipresent God who promises us an eternal home!