Life in the Kingdom is a life in transition. The Kingdom has come and is yet to come. We live in the interim, in the in-between, in the pain of the old world and the hope of the new. We live as transients moving from birth to death to life again.
At times, this life in transition – that which is humanity’s reality – is more tangible than others.
My family is in transition these days. We’ve spent four wonderfully hard and good and full years in Turkey, a place that has become a home for us. We’ve learned the language, begun to understand the culture, and made new friends – good friends. We’ve been shaped anew by this experience, changed immeasurably and can never go back to life as usual, as life was before Turkey.
But now we are in transition. We’ve but twelve days left before our plane will carry us across the Atlantic and forward into our new life in a familiar world. This in between life is difficult.
We are saying goodbye at the same time we are saying hello. We are looking back even as we look forward.
Those we leave only say goodbye. Those who will greet us upon our arrival will only say hello. But we have to say both and say them simultaneously.
Oh that we could have taken a week long journey back on a ship as in the days of old. Only time allows for processing all that we feel and in our ultra connected world, time is the one resource we have run out of.
And so we live in transition.
Physically we do not yet have a home to return to, nor a car to drive, nor a plan for our children’s education nor a clear picture for making enough money to live on. Much is yet to be known.
Emotionally we are in transition as well. We are mourning our leaving of Turkey. It is in us. It is a part of us and moving away is a not easy. It is good and right, but not easy. And while we are mourning our leaving we are truly excited about our new life and the adventures to come.
It is a strange place to be feeling both at the same time. Actually, I never really feel them both at the same time. They come at me in waves rather – first one then the other and then back again and I am sure our families will think us strange, mentally ill perhaps. May they have grace with us and may we have grace with ourselves.
We received an email yesterday from a good friend back in the states. It was an encouragement to us after a rather difficult day and struck at the heart of where we are and where we hope to remain, anchored steadfast even as our life transitions before us.
Here is what he shared with the words of another:
Living overseas is a form of fasting. Fasting from the comforts of a would-be heaven on earth. I want to know God deeply and I want him to be known so much that I fast from my beloved family and worldly comforts, and teach my children to engage with neighbors of differing faiths. But to live and fast like that, to raise my children like that, isn’t brave. When I think about mothering my three children who love this steamy, desert nation, I don’t feel brave. I feel dependent. Helplessly, desperately, breathlessly, clingingly dependent.
It is this dependency that anchors us and that, I hope, will continue to anchor us. For while many would say that we are “going back” to America, in reality, we are going forward to our new life in America.
A life of adventure, of exploring, of taking risks and continuing to grow in trust.