I can remember standing on the street in Verona, Italy, completely lost. I looked at the map on my phone, but didn't know how to get the GPS to tell me where I was. It seemed far from where I needed to be, but was just down the street, right in my neighborhood. That spot became sacred on the map of my memory: X marks the spot where I once was lost...but where I am lost no longer.
I can remember standing on the roof of the school in Port de Paix, Haiti, completely lost. I was physically and emotionally weary, faced with teaching second graders and convinced I could not. My classroom seemed like a trap, a place that would suck the air out of my lungs. But day after day I returned clinging to the God who gave it to me. And eventually, it became a place where I not only existed, but I thrived.
I can remember the other new places. Joplin, Missouri. Brisbane, Australia. Austin, Texas. A summer in Toledo, Ohio, and another one is Amarillo, Texas. All together, there are seven. Seven places that have been brand new to me.
And now this place. This farm in central Virginia, far from many things that are familiar. I do not know the landmarks here. But, I will learn.
Before, in Texas, my husband and I lived spread out. We commuted north and south, returning to the middle. On week days, we each ate our meals separately. Here, we eat all face to face. We sit at my great-grandmother's table.
It, too, has traveled. Tennessee. Louisiana. Texas. Now Virginia. It is at home here... in a kitchen that has both created and told many stories.
We meet there in the morning for coffee. Me, I try to find something to go with my peanut butter. Him, a sausage and oatmeal. I make the coffee strong. We read the prayers of the puritans, prayers that scare me. Prayers that ask God to wretch our souls and purify us.
I would rather be comfortable. I would rather read something that says how great I am - that God will give me what I want if I only rub the Bible as if it's a lamp and He's the genie.
How dare I think that He revolves around me. How dare I think that He is only found in the easy, in the comfortable.
I hauled a huge desk up narrow stairs this morning. I did it while my husband was running. I wanted to do it by myself. My arms are still shaking a couple of hours later. It gained it's own bruises. The desk sits caddie-corner in my office. I was not attached to it in our other homes. But, now, I will always remember how I conquered the stairs. And how now a desk has become part of this place, part of me.
We have gone through a battle to get here. The desk and I.
Maybe that's part of the hardships, the trials of learning a new place. Finding victories - mapping the culture, the mountains, the valleys, the friends.
So, we have gotten lost on all of the back roads, we have felt far from our normal. But it's OK. We will find home. We will create a new normal.
Isn't that the whole journey, though? No matter where we live? No matter what this earth gives us? Our Real Home isn't here anyway. We are groaning in expectation for our Real Normal. This temporary life is just temporary. All these feelings of displacement are just our hearts waiting for the Eternal.