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Monday, 7 July 2014

Temporary Home(s)...

I am currently on a Megabus (travelling in style always) from Durham with my final destination being Essex hopefully before the clock strikes 12.
I lived in the beautiful city of Durham for 4 years during which I was a student and later an intern at Kings church Durham; working in a women's prison and growing in leadership alongside the other 8 interns. I returned to Durham this weekend to see one of the beautiful intern girls getting married - what a wonderful wedding it was and such a privilege to still be involved in her life and the lives of the others on the team. I shall be returning for a whole series of weddings over the next while which is exciting.
The weekend consisted of wedding joy, Abba tribute banter in the rain (although I'm convinced it was the real abba), jamming on the beach, a morning in my old church, lunch out with an old housemate, an epic car adventure, and lovely catch ups with Bex and Claire who I worked in prison with and whom I adore. So not only was it such a blessing to be able to catch up with the old interns (or should I say 'externs') but there are many amazing people in Durham who I very much see as my family, and was able to spend some time with. It is a place of biblical hospitality for sure, and I learn so much from being there. Being able to worship on Sunday morning in kings church is also something which I hold as a huge blessing and it was beautiful to see how many people were still interested in my life and wanted to come and chat and say hello, and I had so many questions to ask them all. It's crazy (and kinda scary) to think it's been a whole year since leaving.
Basically Durham has my heart. Arriving there makes me teary and nostalgic... and I instantly feel like I am home and safe.

What is funny however is that I now have several places in which I call 'home' and it is VERY confusing for my brain to compute. This time the journey home although very sad, simply means exactly that... It's the journey HOME. God has blessed me with a feeling of comfort and joy in Essex that I wasn't convinced was coming. As you might have read from my last post, I have a beautiful home, life giving friends, and a ministry that I love... I have so much to be thankful for.
In 4 weeks time I will also head back to Northern Ireland for my sisters wedding. Yet another return 'home' to where friends and family remain, and with whom I wish I got to spend far more time with.

Home is in three places for me. It's difficult, but it's beautiful. Blessed does not begin to cover it.

The only downside of your home being in 3 places is that sometimes it can feel like you don't actually belong anywhere or with any one group of people. Belonging in several places and fully belonging anywhere, don't really go together. I don't really have a base that feels permanent, sure, or secure. But I'm beginning to feel as though that is an okay thing. Although hard, it keeps life fresh, exciting, full, and eclectic. Each place is so so different. Each place has it's difficulties and it's triumphs. Each place holds a different piece of my heart. In many ways I do long for one place that I know I'll be in 5 or 10 years time, rooted and settled, and it saddens me to keep leaving people behind that I really love, and places like Durham that are so breathtaking. But what I do know and am learning at the moment, is that we are not called to feel like we necessarily belong somewhere. I don't need to be attached anywhere specifically, and I am incredibly lucky to find acceptance, love and peace in 1 place let alone 3.

One day I am going to belong to ONE place and one place ONLY. In fact I belong there already. One of my favourite songs is called 'My temporary home' and it talks about earth being a Christians stop off point. A space for maybe 80years or so in which we are 'IN the world but not OF the world'... Knowing that one day we will be in heaven with our God... Enjoying the permanence of His Kingdom and the fellowship of souls who will join you in singing praises to God forever. No fears, no loneliness, no fragility, no pain, no suffering, no goodbyes... Just a constant God, a constant family, and a place to call home.

Durham, Essex, Northern Ireland... Not only are they all temporary places in earthly terms for me that I have spent a number of years in and moved on from... But they are temporary in terms of where I am headed... They are 'windows and rooms that I'm passing through'. They are 'just a stop on the road to where I'm going and I'm not afraid because I know, this is my temporary home'...