Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Staying put? Are you kidding?

Have you ever been a refugee? Or in a situation in which you lost everything - or thought you had lost everything? Have you ever been uprooted forever? Over and over and over again?

There are so many people in this world for whom this is a daily reality. I think official statistics report that there are 6 million refugees globally, but that is a small fraction of the women and men, girls and boys who have traveled across borders without anyone taking notice. It also does not include internally displaced people, those who fled their homes, often in the blink of an eye. Some of these people live mere miles from their homes but can't go back. And let's not forget the homeless, the landless, the unemployed.

And then there's me. I live a gilded life: I travel the world on someone else's dime. I have a great job in which I actually feel like I'm helping people. I generally have a pillow for my head, and a shower for my sanity. And I almost always have a room to sleep in. I have a clever laptop and several little trinkets that make each destination feel like home. But I feel like in some small way, God has given me sympathy for the plight of the refugee. How many times in the past half-dozen years have I almost lost everything, had to move in the blink of an eye, been told that those things I'd counted on were no more?

That's where I am right now, and so was dishearted to read today's entry in My Utmost for His HIghest, which I'm attempting to follow in 2011:

"Consider the lilies of the field" - they grow where they are put. Many of us refuse to grow where we are put, consequently we take root nowhere. Jesus says that if we obey the life God has given us, He will look after all the other things.

I'd love to stay put, but God keeps uprooting me. In my world up is down, and down is up - I read this and conclude the life God has given us is a life of transition and I must accept that. My only roots can be in him. But I'd very often rather take root in a more visible way.

But then I wonder how a refugee, or an at-risk poor person, would read this: do they feel shame in the life of displacement?

This is my first week back at Imperfect Prose since the holidays. Every Wednesday night, the Thursday, has come and gone, in a different city each week, a new dramatic scene unfolding in the lives of people I love. The dust is settling now but very, painfully, slowly, and I'm sorry I have nothing more creative to contribute here today, but I needed to do the discipline for myself, so I thank you for being willing to join me in this journey. I have missed you all my blogging friends.


Kim Hyland said...

After 10 years in the same house and 17 in the same neighborhood, my family of 7 is now nearing the end of our 2nd month in a 4 month lease and pretty unsure of what happens next. I don't have the anxiety of loss. I know we'll have a roof, and it will likely be a nice one. But even so, I do feel unsettled. Your post is thought provoking in many ways. It acknowledges both the excitement and anxiety of living with such a big question mark. How much "home" means and is defined by a place. How it takes faith to "root" even if it's for a short time. How grateful I am for the security I have. Thank you.

Lisa notes... said...

As always, you broaden my perspective. I've never been a refugee and can't even imagine how it feels. Praying for God to keep planting you exactly what he wants you to be, and for you to keep going there. You are special.

Loni said...

"My only roots can be in Him"

I've not moved about often, but my heart has . . .searching, and it's work to keep our roots growing deep in Him.

Thank you for sharing.

LauraX said...

I'm thinking that roots must deepen in our hearts...attachment to home to HaMakom/The Place/God within is the safest harbor, the only one any of us can depend upon.

David N. said...

Great thoughts, Kati. Thanks for writing.

Lauri said...

where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...I love the idea of roots in God. Thank you for the change in perspective!

Abby said...

aww...kati, i needed this tonight.

i have not moved as much as you, but God does keep moving us on and with little ones life seems so full of transition...but what of the refugee? for sure, so need that perspective to wrap me up tight.

we're moving overseas and in praying for the word for 2011 with all of the shifting, i settled on 'Home' for it's irony that leads me to where Home is in Him only truly.

I loved this Tim Keller sermon...I know you will too.

if it doesn't work, it's the 'We Had to Celebrate'...i've listened over and over.

blessings:) and thank you again!

Bethany Ann said...

i only know that i have a good family, a warm home, and a healthy body -- these are for sharing. thanks for thinking out loud.

Brian Miller said...

this was perfect for me...i wrestle with being planted...feel like i am stuck in this town...stuck in many you give me much to ponder...

alittlebitograce said...

i haven't been uprooted physically, but more in an emotional/social way. through the events of the last year and a bit, i have felt much like a refugee especially as i felt much of the same emotional displacement and rollercoaster of emotions. although i have felt a lot of shame at this displacement, i know that i'm much more able to identify and be compassionate towards refugees.

i've been doing a lot of reading much of it centring on refugees and the conflicts in africa. i've learned a lot and been humbled in the process. out of both my reading and my personal experiences has come a determination to be much more sensitive and caring towards the displaced that now live in my community.

thank you for drawing attention to those we often overlook or discriminate against.

Courtney Walsh said...

I think maybe I needed this today. Long story--too much to explain, but we've recently uprooted and moved across the country. Scary stuff, to be sure. I don't know, though, there are evangelists who bloom in the moving around, missionaries who uproot and GO into all the world... I can't see these things as bad. Perhaps it just means what you're doing, bloom there... not physically, but spiritually and emotionally?

Good grief, does that make any sense? I need coffee. lol

emily wierenga said...

oh friend, i'm so glad you've gotten a lot of feedback on this post. you know, this is the kind of thing i love about imperfect: it doesn't have to be creative. just gut-wrenching honesty. i often wonder how to grow these invisible roots too... i think you demonstrate this well through your spiritual attachment to Christ. he is your foundation sister. as long as you follow him, you'll never lose your roots. e.

Linda said...

When I think of how much home means to me, and how I long for it when I'm away, my heart goes out to those who have no such place.
I think you have made your home in Him, and that is a very warm, loving place to live. You are obedient to the call He has made on your life. You bless.

happygirl said...

Thanks for sharing. I've traveled and lived many places in my life, too. I have always appreciated my creature comforts, but I don't think I've shared the gratitude I have for this. Thanks for stopping by my blog and encouraging me. I need to blog more on gratitude. I find that writing focuses my thoughts.

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