Monday, October 31, 2011

Where is home?

How do you define home?

I don't think I know anymore.

I was born in the country, but raised predominantly in Melbourne. All of my schooling and growing up was done there. In number at least.

Shortly after my 21st birthday, I moved rather thoughtlessly to Brisbane. To join the police. Why not? The real growing up was done there. The kind that comes when you open your eyes and see the world. Properly. See the hurt in so many lives. The place where my identity was wrapped up largely in being a police officer.

It was in Brisbane where I met Jesus. Laid eyes on the man I will love until my final breath. Bore four gifts in the form of boys. And developed friendships through faith, love, prayer, experiences. Not to mention the dirty nappies, piles of laundry and revolving door of baby showers and kids' birthday parties. 

Another move. This time to Adelaide. For my man's work. This time it was my boys doing the growing up. Friendships for me in this city were formed whilst freezing cold on the side of a footy ground, and in the school yard. Amongst autumn leaves, and in heat waves. Relaxing in back yards with a glass of wine, good conversation and a ratio of children to adults that never felt entirely comfortable.

Next stop - Jakarta. Still for Tony's work. But this time a sure sign of God's plan, vague as it was to me. I had prayed that we would be sent, and that our family would grow spiritually as a result of our experiences. I feared the effects of uprooting my boys, and my 'control freak' nature wanted desperately to know which city we would return to. The Lord, through the bible, confirmed my hopes and reassured my fears.

So we went. And here we sit. Ten months have passed since our arrival. A sense of home is creeping in, ever so slowly. Our six had only each other upon arrival, in a place with a vastly different culture, language and lifestyle. Friendships are growing at Embassy functions this time, through bible study groups, and  in extraordinary heat on soccer sidelines.

People ask where we are from. Australia is the easy answer. Otherwise I really don't know. We don't know how long we will be here, nor do we have any idea where we will 'return' to. It may be another city. A new start. Again.

The other common question - where do we want to live? Harder again. You see one city is a place I adore for the people in it, and the comfort I feel there. Another is home for my boys and happened to produce some gorgeous friends. The final option would afford opportunity to be near my parents as they age, and to be close to my sister for the first time in our adult life.

But being within my comfort zone, making things easier, being around people I love...none of these should dictate our destination. I'm not called to be comfortable, but to serve. Not to what is easy, but rather the road that is right. Not an identity in what I do, but rather in Who I follow. And it's already before me. My purposes, the places, chosen. Though it appears awfully hazy now to me, it's not to the One who has clear view of my path.

So in the moments when anxiety creeps up on me. Almost takes hold of me. As I look to uncertain times ahead. I remember that I'm looking in the wrong direction.

I need to look up.

Giving thanks:
  • Knowing loneliness.
  • Independance.
  • Our six bonding together.
  • Friends in so many cities. Now many countries.
  • Strong memories.
  • Homesickness. Because that indicates all there is to be thankful for.
  • Finding people here I want to get to know. Phew.
  • Paths I've been on. And the ones I can't quite see.
  • Dispelling anxiety, because He knows and loves me.
  • Adventures - the anticipation each time of what lies ahead.
  • Coffee beans growing. Oh, how I am glad they are replenishing what I drink.
  • Gorgeous girls in rice paddies.
  • A Masquerade Ball. Part of this experience. And lots of fun.


  1. Just stopped by from Ann Voskamp's. Love your writing!!!

  2. A world away---and your life like mine filled with questions.

    The answers will differ but they are the same. "I'm not called to be comfortable, but to serve." So true.

    Have a blessed day Pauline.

  3. refreshing to have someone put my feelings into words. Although I am still in the same country as I was born, I am "away" from my family for the first time in my life. Yet I love that we (five of us-hubby, wife, and 3 girls) get to bond more closely together in this journey. Thanks for sharing!

    Jumped over from Ann's 1000 gifts.

  4. We moved tons... It does take awhile to settle in...give yourself a lot space and time... I find becoming tourist in your new town makes the place more endearing.

  5. Stopped by from Ann's site..
    Words filled with wisdom and yet a yearning to know more within them..
    Beautiful words shared with such honesty..
    Thank you

  6. Isn't it wonderful to know the One that knows the road ahead!! Thanks for your encouraging and challenging thoughts Pauline!! We're off to live in Zambia next year, so my thoughts are very much like yours. Totally heading into the unknown and even perhaps uncomfortable - but how much we need to obey! lotsalove m x

  7. Thanks for your comments ladies. The fact that so many ponder these questions, reinforces the fact that this is not our real home!