Friday, January 11, 2013


I am finally settling in here; getting into a routine that is as close to normal as I am likely to have during my stay. But I am homesick.

No, I'm not sitting around crying or feeling sorry for myself. Its just that I miss the familiar things that mark my life. Things like my family, my house, and my coffee pot. But its more than that. I miss the cold, crisp January mornings of Michigan and the clear night sky, filled with stars. I miss the cardinals sitting on the rail of my deck, their bright red feathers a brilliant contrast to the clean white snow.

Its not that Indonesia isn't beautiful. It is! This is my apartment with beautiful trees and lush green grass. And the walkway to the classrooms.

It is beautiful and tropical, warm and lush.
 And then there are the products of Indonesia, as colorful and diverse as the country itself.

And the food - a delight to the eye and the palate!

But it is not home.

An Indonesian friend here said when he was studying in the states, he missed the Muslim calls to prayer that frame the days here. (This is the most Muslim country in the world, I am told.) He is a Christian, and yet that regular sound was a sound of home for him.

Many of the students at the seminary where I teach are from other countries. We sometimes talk about culture shock and cultural adjustments. I think I have a better idea of what that entails for them. It is, at least in part, a sort of homesickness for all things familiar.

But I think one of the good things about an experience like this, is that it is a constant reminder that our longings for home are reflections of a much deeper longing - a longing for God, the one in whose presence we are always home. Our hearts are restless, says Augustine, until they rest in thee. This world, the world as we know it, is only our temporary home. We await our true home - the restored heavens and earth where the dwelling place of God is with humans. Only there will we be truly home.

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