A frustrating time

02 November 2010

I'm ready to go home now. Five months back and I'm ready to go home. Now.

The husband is in Wisconsin for what I'm terribly afraid will be a fruitless missions conference. It's hard to convince the mega church that people in modern western Europe are in as dire need for a Saviour as the rest of the world is. Especially when the "rest of the world" is within a 5 mile radius of the church and is also in dire need of a state-of-the-art work out facility and wedding chapel and climbing wall... I could go on and on. Nevertheless, I hold out a wee bit of hope, because I want to go home.

I'm with the children in Missouri, cut off from communication with husband because of very rather dodgy internet reception (and a jacked-up phone). The internet has been this way for months now, and makes working and communicating with coworkers and friends a world away quite impossible. But every day, we try to again, because we want to go home.

The children are rebelling against me. They know the disciplinarian (and also the fun one) has gone missing, so that leaves me - the weak one with the short fuse - attempting to hold things together. The girl screams at me from time to time, the boy looks at me so disappointingly when I've let him down (most recently because of a forgotten darth vader mask and light saber on halloween), and the baby follows me from room to room crying and hanging onto my leg because I'm all he's got left. Add to this no-sleeping and a bit of bed-wetting, and we're all suffering the ill effects of a change in routine. They feel encumbered by our current living and working and schooling situation, because they too want to go home.

A distant family member continues to try and sabotage our work by communicating with our organization - this time with the president of the organization - over an issue she has which is actually quite important: a tattoo. She makes phone calls, writes letters, and makes terribly loathing insinuations about us and our calling - and even our ethics - to anyone who will hear her. Happily, I think people are done hearing her, realizing that she's fighting for the losing side in a battle of spiritual nature. But still, the pettiness and sadness and humiliation over the whole things makes me want to run away, straight back home.

And finally, this teeny tiny computer I'm typing this on. Not my computer, but the man's (who has mine to wow the important people with in WI). It's small and slow and every once in awhile a new window pops up or a search engine - I'm fairly sure I didn't do that. Or it goes to sleep, or beeps at me. The text on the window randomly gets bigger, or smaller, or disappears altogether. It's driving me crazy! Unfortunately, it's an inanimate object so can't long for home, but it does allow me to blame one more thing on being here.

In spite of all this, I'm glad to have my family. Loving a new church. Glad to have fall colours in a familiar place. Happy to shop and eat wherever I so choose. Blessed by things all over the place. But there's an Irish weight hanging over me. It follows me wherever I go, hovers around whoever I'm talking to. It sleeps in the bed between me and the man and whichever little person is there for the night. It sits in my Bible when I open it, echoing every word.

It says, "You are not home."

*rereading this I feel like I complain too much and praise too little. I hate this about my writing, feel like it's a recurring theme. These, however, are my feelings, true and raw, today. Tomorrow, hopefully, prayerfully, I will write of the praiseworthy things I often forget to mention. Thank you God for letting us complain to you, and forgiving us of our selfishness. Teach me how to praise.


  1. Karen, thanks for sharing...it must be so hard to know that you are only living here a year and then will be uprooting all over again. I am so done doing that. It is so hard working toward something that is so distant, developing relationships here, while all the while knowing you are leaving. I'm sorry about the tattoo thing. I am encouraged to think more about praising and less about complaining as well.

  2. Katie, ur comments are so encouraging. A colleague/co-conspirator in Ireland is helping me to see the tattoo thing as the really actually quite funny weird thing that it really is. So that helps. :)

    I guess maybe I'm really struggling to embrace the life of adventure in following Christ - whether it's down the street, across town, to a new state (that's you!) or overseas. It's never easy, but it's got to be better than the alternative. I think maybe after laying that all down in print and being able to sit with it and look at it honestly, I'm feeling slightly more at peace with the whole thing.

    Hopefully the praiseworthy things will come easier to me now. :) Praying you can find praiseworthy things, too, while Dave is away and you're left to close out one life and start another. Don't know how you do it... Matt's only gone three days and I'm losing it rapidly!

  3. I read your post and kept it unread on my feed reader because I wanted to respond to it, but wanted to take time to, and... well...

    I so understand those feelings. People sometimes ask me if I am homesick... how do I answer? Or if I am feeling at home here or there... how can I explain it? It is not as if any place will ever become my home. It is not as if any place I live will not, either.

    It is that every place I live claims some of my heart. I can never be "feeling at home" anywhere. Never free from intense homesickness. My heart has split and every place I've lived has claimed some of it. It will never be whole - no matter where I live or for how long, but is like a kaleidoscope - beautiful, but in pieces, constantly shifting.

    Being a missionary is accepting the fact that a deep profound sense of homesickness will always be a part of your live no matter where you are.

    Until heaven. What I look forward to most there is being with people... God and people. Never having again to love being with some and deeply longing for others.

    Until then, I am like a kaleidoscope.