Indulge me, will you? It’s another blog post about home. I know, I’ve written about it before, but it’s a bit of a thing for me, I guess. And the great thing about blogging is that I can write away merrily and see from the stats that a few people have read the post, while blissfully unaware that they read the first three sentences and then got bored. That means I can write what I want without worrying that I’ve bored you. This is a distinct advantage over face-t0-face communication, where, when people have got bored after three sentences, it’s all too clear from their glazed expression and I have to decide whether to shut up and put them out of their misery, or plough on and indulge in a bit of character building for them.
Anyway, I digress.
This one has been inspired by the blog of a friend of mine. In order you make the most of this post, I’d recommend buzzing over to Cecily’s blog first. It comes in three parts:
- An email from a TCK* about the pain and difficulty of leaving your ‘adopted’ country to return to your ‘homeland’
- Cecily’s response to this. (This is well worth a read if you are a TCK, work with TCKs, have any intention of ever meeting a TCK, etc., etc.)
- A response from the TCK to Cecily’s ideas.
Anyway, I was just going to tag a comment onto Cecily’s post, but my head started swirling with enough ideas for me to blog about them.
First of all, so many of the experiences expressed about the difficulty of making the transition matched my own. I remember a complete moron of a kid at school asking if I spoke ‘Pakistanish’. The look of disdain I mustered (the best my scared little 14 year old self could manage) probably disuaded him from asking any further questions. It was only when relaying the story to my parents that it was pointed out to me that the kid wasn’t a complete moron, just someone who hadn’t been brought up in Pakistan and was none the wiser as to what the language was called. My disdain may have put off a kid who was just expressing a genuine interest (something that didn’t often happen).
The pain, the weariness, the dull ache, the sadness, the loneliness. If you know anyone who’s making this sort of transition, do everything you can to help. Listen to them. Ask questions. Be there for them.
Then the advice. Really wise words from Cecily. Some will be based on successes, others on mistakes made, but all great wisdom. First, recognising the transition as loss and grief. Without this, the approach taken is likely to be flawed. The desire to look long term helps too. For me, too, the long term view has now extended to eternity (though I don’t think I particularly thought in these terms during the process). I accept the homesickness because I know it doesn’t just look back to what has gone, it looks forward to what is yet to come.
If you’re going through this sort of transition, check out the advice. And if you’re supporting someone else through it, check out the advice!
And finally, the response. The pain of the process. The joy of recognising that someone else has a grasp of what’s going on (and perhaps even ways to tackle it). The creation of rituals. Even this week (21 years after coming back to England) we had curry night which included an ace egg curry we used to have in Pakistan as well as a Chicken Karai that came from a recipe cooked in a favourite restaurant of ours in Pakistan. These things reflect the heritage we have. Wherever we’re brought up, whatever our life experiences, we have a heritage that we carry with us.
Most of all, that the pain will be over one day. Of course, this is true of the transition from an adopted home to your passport country. But for Christians, this is also true of the journey from our earthly home to our eternal home. That homesickness for a restored place with God.
*Third Culture Kid (In Christian circles, these are often Missionary Kids) Someone who’s grown up in a ‘foreign’ country, but that country often feels more like home than their passport country.