Home Sweet Heaven

An Essay By Sarah L // 10/29/2007

In English, the dictionary contains nine different definitions for the noun “home.” Number one, “A place where one lives; residence” best fits people’s idea of home today (American Heritage, 407). Millions of Americans move every year. Houses serve mainly as investments and very temporary residences instead of the core of a family. My family lived in a perfect, hundred year old farmhouse for 15 years and never once did we move. Of all five of our kids, the three oldest of us agree that our house served as much more than just a “residence.” People always used our house for meetings, friends visited often, and our three acres of land functioned as a small world of indians, skating, and marvelous hide-and-go-seek games. Our house anchored us as a family, attracting us and many of our friends to it. It never served as just a house or dwelling; we fondly called it our home.
Most people have heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” When we moved from our beloved home to a small apartment in Turkey, this saying became exceptionally true for us. First we had to sell most of our antique country furniture and make do with cheaper and therefore less homey furnishings. We considered not only the furniture inside our house unpleasant, but also the exterior of our apartment extremely hideous, with spearmint green trimming on a salmon background. Needless to say, with the obviously confusing situations in a foreign country, we also needed to become accustomed to a very different type of house. My mom learned techniques to transform our house to something more comfy. Consequently, because our house repelled us tremendously, we stayed out of it, and made acquaintance with people much quicker. It felt like we left our hearts with our friends, family, and house in America, but we soon learned that we could love those things in Turkey too. Ultimately, we made our home in Turkey not in an actual house, but in the hearts of people, our friends.
“Third Culture Kids” or missionary kids find it difficult to define home. For kids who have grown up their whole lives overseas, it can feel like no one understands, except other “MK’s.” I have an American friend who lives in India but dislikes America. She has never felt accepted there, and as she constantly reassures me, “India is my real home, it’s where I belong.” Fortunately, she has no difficulties with her home except when her family returns occasionally on furlough to visit family, because then she feels so out of place. I also have no house in America. Our house got sold long ago. But my heart, my roots, my belonging, remains there with the people and familiar things I love. At 16, I am unusually old to begin life somewhere different. Most missionary families begin their new life as a couple or with small children. Kids find it easier to grow up in one place, but switching back and forth confuses them and devastates children who cannot understand why they have two homes. My baby sister keeps asking when we will “go onna aiwplane to a diffint house.” We all know sadly that she will never have that grounding in American culture like we did. Unlike us, she will not confuse which home she belongs in. For all she knows, in her blissful, childlike innocence, she belongs in Turkey.
People’s definition of home correlates to their particular circumstances. Some people live in hovels of dirt, some in mounds of ice, some live in homes made with boards of wood. We care not what the home actually looks like as long as people we love live in it. Though we prized our farm-style home, to others it only looked like a shell without our family in it, like a dead body with no soul. It sounds so sentimental, but when we have no anchor anymore to a home or place once familiar to us, the floating sensation of not belonging frightens us. During a recent trip to Wales for training, this truth became so real when we realized that we had three “homes” where we felt we belonged to some degree. We have always considered America our home, but someday we will go back and find that we have changed and it has changed. I have never found that it becomes easier to say goodbye. I find myself wanting to withdraw from others in order to never have to say goodbye again. This will not solve my problem and only causes loneliness. Thankfully, we support each other in our family. Our home’s ugliness does not bother us anymore because outward appearances fall away when we have more excellent things to look forward to.
One day we will leave this earth for our true home in heaven for eternity. Our Creator never meant for his children to belong here on earth. While we live in this different country and struggle with belonging and real homes, it makes us long for heaven even more. God comforts us with the knowledge that even though we do not belong here and do not belong in America, we have a home in heaven according to Jesus’ great and awesome grace. He continues to prepare that special place just for us, and there we will never, ever long for something different or better. Our hearts will forever contentedly love Christ and there we will make our home.



Anonymous | Thu, 04/02/2009


f1RIH4 another one!

Anonymous | Wed, 05/06/2009


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