TCKs, Home, & God

Letter to God

Once a month or so I write a devotional for an online Bible reading and discipleship group that I help coordinate and lead.  It’s for TCKs and largely by TCKs.  I’m the only non-TCK in WorldVenture’s group.  That’s by design.

This week we’re chewing on 1 Kings 6-8.  To save you from guessing what it’s about or looking it up, it’s about Solomon building The Temple.  Yup.  Building.

It’s interesting to imagine what all those things looked like, how it was to assemble the structure without noisy tools, how amazing it would’ve smelled with the cedar and sandalwood, or how dazzling all the gold that was involved would have been.  It’s not exactly a page-turner though.  The preceding chapters are filled with plots, intrigue, and a few executions.  There’s nothing like that here.

While chapters 1-5 would make a great graphic novel.  Chapters 6-8 are mostly interesting to the architects, builders and interior designers among us.  I imagine if Pinterest existed in Solomon’s day, he would’ve had some amazing boards to share with the nation of Israel!

So as I sat down to read and prepare to write, I wondered what in the world I could pull out of this passage.  I prayed, and God answered right in the first verse!

“Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites left Egypt . . . Solomon started building The Temple of God.”  1 Kings 6:1 (The Message)

Bam!  It struck me that God knows what it’s like to answer the worst question TCKs are asked–“Where’s home?”

It may not be those words exactly for you.  It could be “Where are you from?”  or something like that.  The thing is it’s not so easy to answer when you’ve grown up cross-culturally.

Is home where your passport says you’re from?  Is it where most of your stuff is?  Is it where your toothbrush is?  Is it a place that no longer exists? OR is it someplace you haven’t gotten to yet?

I love that God really understands this dilemma TCKs face.

It took Solomon seven years to finish God’s house.  I’m not great with numbers, but that’s 487 years of not being able to answer the worst question ever.

Of course God could answer something like, “Home is with my people.”  That’s true.  However, most askers of that question are looking for an address—or at least some geography to attach to the answer.

Most TCKs have a similar answer.  Home is with . . . my family, my church, my friends, my school, my ____ . (You fill in the blank.)  As a person of the Third Culture roots go deep into people.  Of course there are places TCKs love and sometimes call their own, but their real attachments are to people.

I couldn’t help but think of John 1:14 as I was reading 1 Kings.  John says, again in The Message version, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.”  I’ve also heard it as “ . . . and pitched his tent among ours.”  God chooses not to live in a fancy house.  He chooses to live with us–fancy house or not, TCK or not.

We don’t need the temple anymore.  We are God’s temple.  He chooses us.  He chooses to live within us—his workmanship.

God doesn’t describe his home geographically.  He describes it relationally.

How do you describe home?

original photo of airmail envelope and background courtesy of lusi.  Image altered at pixlr.com

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12 Responses to “TCKs, Home, & God”

  1. Kathleen HodgeFebruary 11, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Home is anywhere where one is able to share the joy of being alive, being its own person… Home is where we share, where we teach in exchange of learning… home is where we feel safe, surrounded by trustworthy friends… Home is the place where we share love…for a nomad like myself, trying to answer the question: “where is home” has a very unique response, because it’s a challenge to define ‘home’ for ‘serial expats’… Very personally, home is the place I feel free to be myself, and share all my passions!

  2. SherylFebruary 11, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    That’s a great definition, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing it. To me, your definition gets back to relationships. It’s hard for me to be myself among strangers.

  3. TirzahFebruary 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Home is where you feel most relaxed. At least that’s how it should be. Sometimes it involves people, but more often it is the place you can best be in your thoughts. In your mind. Close to God. Surrounded by peace. Not a TCK answer but I’ve lived the better part of my life alone or having space to be alone.

  4. SherylFebruary 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I don’t know if it’s an unTCK answer, Tirzah. It’s certainly a good one!

  5. Chris Harrison (@prophets)February 11, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    I hate to put too much pressure on her, but home is where my wife is. I moved around a whole lot, so I don’t relate home to geography. Wherever she’s at…that’s home.

  6. SherylFebruary 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    I like that, Chris. I’m pretty sure she does, too.

  7. KathleenFebruary 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Love it! (And loved the line about Pinterest…hahaha!) Home for me is wherever my family is, my family now being my husband and kids.

  8. SherylFebruary 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    I’m so glad someone liked that line, KT! Again–it’s relational, isn’t it?

  9. KathleenFebruary 13, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    Definitely relational…you grab on to those to whom you know you don’t have to say goodbye, and that is Home. Though technology has made the world smaller, I’d say goodbyes are still my biggest enemy. For example, Georgia is no longer “home” to me (though I do tell people I’m from there if I don’t feel like giving the long version) even though I have family there. I dread our annual visits there because I know it will be goodbyes all over again. It’s comforting to know that, no matter where you are, as long as your family is there and you can count on them being there, that is home. Does that make sense?

  10. SherylFebruary 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    That makes complete sense, Kathleen. I love the distinction that home is with those that don’t need good-byes. You’ve written some rich thoughts here.

  11. Marilyn GardnerMarch 22, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    “Home” is in quotes. I asked this same question on my blog a while ago and got some interesting responses. And this one was my favorite:
    “On an international flight… where nobody can understand each other’s funny accents, but where everybody understands it doesn’t matter for the next 17 hours, where nobody is from the same place, but everybody knows it doesn’t define you, where I can finally, in the last place I expected, feel at home…”

  12. SherylMarch 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    I love that answer, Marilyn! It’s so true. I once heard that the airport is the place where anticipation and grief are equal. I love that.

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