BY: Starr Cliff
I have a really great life. A perfect life? No. I have certainly had heartache and loss; but I know God as healer and redeemer probably better than I know him in any other way, and he has been good to oversee my pain and certainly never waste it. Bumps in the road not withstanding, I really do get way down in my gut that my life is enviable. It humbles me. A good, good man who loves me. Healthy kids. Never missed a meal. A family in Oklahoma who would do anything for me.
The one “hang up” and pity-party I keep revisiting in my adulthood, in spite of a full and joy-filled life, is my kids not being able t0 experience a strong sense of “hometown.” The crazy hometown pride, here’s where I from, it defines me in so many ways, I love it in spite of it’s flaws, yes please dress me in my high school colors 20 years later, that kind of home. They may never feel about anywhere the way I feel about Oklahoma, because they’ve never been anywhere long enough. And yes, that’s our bad. We did it. We keep moving them around the country. Sometimes planned and exciting, sometimes unplanned and heartbreaking, but always landing somewhere where we eventually say, “Oh. Yeah. We get it now. We trust you, Lord, with our whole lives. Thank you.”
So, my kids not having a home town, it’s a small grievance in an otherwise pretty charmed life.
I think I’m finally ready to let go of that heartache. Here’s this burden Lord, I don’t want to carry it anymore. It’s time. Now is the time partly because, let’s face it, my kids are age 13, 11, and 9. The one-hometown-for-their-whole-life ship has sailed. It ain’t happenin’ honey.
But also because the Lord has seen fit that now is the time for him to shine a gentle but very bright spotlight on my heart, and reveal the discontent there. In short…he moved me to a military town. So I have been given the precious chance of watching a handful of families be moved, uprooted, have plans changed and changed again, all at the mercy of some higher up in an office somewhere sending them off to wherever the paperwork says to go. They do it with joy and peace. They do it accepting the heartache that comes with saying goodbye, but without bitterness. If they feel a sense of loss over “home”, it’s not in a way that steals their joy.
So, this life of never being in one place long enough to lay down roots? It’s not the script we would have written. But it’s okay. Better than okay. As I give up that wish and just go ahead and try and accept with joy that I didn’t get my way, I can more clearly see all the benefits of this life we’ve lived.
A friend once told me that my kids were “well on their way to becoming unflappable.” It makes me tear up as I realize how true that is, and that I couldn’t have given them that gift with the life I would have planned had I been in charge. They’ve earned their grit the same way we have. I’m grateful.
And I hope for them that someday they can process whatever heartache and unfulfilled wished-for-things they encounter in their own lives, and find the beauty in it.
So, you are all my witnesses that I am fully accepting this life of ours with joy: Dallas. Lubbock. Georgia. And now, Lord willing for a good long while, Tennessee. I’m glad for the lessons, love, and beauty found in all of those places.
“Home is wherever I’m with you.” A cliche by now, but also the God’s honest truth. Home is the place that’s safe. Home is where you are known, loved, celebrated, and accepted. And we’ve always, always had that. Always will.