“Where are you from?” The dreaded question asked all too often as soon as you open your mouth and your slightly obnoxious Australian-British-South African accent comes out. A question that seems simple yet holds the weight of my being; it is the question of my identity.
Now it is not simply the answer to that question alone which can be a difficult and strange one to say when someone actually doesn’t care about my history. But rather the judgements that are made upon the story that ensues. When I say I have moved around the world, people’s first comment is mostly “Wow! That’s cool!”, or “Wow! You’re lucky!” and yes, I am. I have had the opportunity to meet many incredible people, have many weird and wonderful experiences, and have grown to obtain a greater understanding of the world around me.
However, after being asked this question at every social gathering, and not at the fault of the one questioning, I have begun to feel a sort of resentment toward the “So where is home to you?” question. I do not feel at home where I am today and will probably never feel totally at home wherever I will be in the future. There will always be some aspect of my current culture that I do not have an affinity with or do not particularly enjoy. I have struggled over the past years with cultural differences and language barriers, common courtesies and strange laws. I have eaten traditional British cream tea and ostrich off an open fire after being killed by an “uncle” I am not related to. This has been my life, and although it has been an adventure… it has been oh so very tiring.
Getting to know and then leaving people, I have seen them grow up in situations of familiarity, childhood friends who shared their ice-creams with you becoming love interests, and rivals at swimming carnivals becoming prom dates. Sometimes I wish to have grown up in the same place, where the lady who seemed to be a hundred and one years old next door has to be three hundred by the time I leave home. Where the hole in my back fence has never been fixed, and the swing I once played on in the park became the place I had my first kiss. And yet that will never be. And I have to be okay with that. I have to come to grips with the fact that there are only really two things in life that are constant.
The first is change, and that means I will embrace change with every fibre of my being. Because if I don’t, then this adventure won’t be nearly half as fun. And the second is who my Father in Heaven is… whose promises never fail, whose mercies are new every morning… whether I am in Europe or Africa, Australia or the absolute middle of nowhere, He remains constant, ever-present, unchanging. Therefore, I have adopted a new identity:
“Citizen of Heaven”
As my identity is found in him, and my eternity will be found there also, I rest in the assurance that I do have a home… and that is wherever I am in His presence, wherever I remember His all-encompassing and never-ending love. So, to all those who may not have a home, who feel a sense of desire for something that seems unattainable… rest in the assurance that you are not alone. I understand. But also, you have a God in Heaven, whose Holy Spirit will fill every crack and crevice of your life, whose presence will become your home. And soon you will also realise that you are indeed, “A Citizen of Heaven”.