Many times I am asked The Question: When will you come home?
I understand the intent of the asker.
They mean, when will you return to your prior life after your missionary experience? When will you come back to the familiar after this fling with the exotic? When will you pick up your life back where I am? When are you coming to where I call home?
Please understand that for me, where you are isn’t home.
Home is where I live.
Home is not in the United States for me, right now.
Home is currently in Costa Rica.
Home is where my things are on the shelves.
Home is where I have a key to enter.
Home is where my husband is.
Right now, home is Costa Rica.
Home can’t be in the United States for me, right now.
Sure, I have more possessions there, but they are all in boxes, crates, & bags in storage.
Sure, I have the most family there, but the One whom I have promised, before God & man, to love, honor, obey, & follow is here beside me.
Sure, I have plans to return to the States, but that is a long way off.
Home has been in the States.
Home will be in the States again. Rest assured, the States will become my home again, but right now, it is a place of unknowns. I don’t know the city or state we will live in. I don’t know the type of work we will complete. I don’t know how our year at home in Costa Rica will impact our future life. I don’t know how close we will be to family. I don’t know how well we will readjust. Home will be in the States again.
But right now, home is not in the States.
Home is SENDAS in Costa Rica.
Home is the campus I have grown to love.
Home is Casa 25, with variable neighbors: student teachers, Spanish students, overnight visitors.
Home is within walking distance of “Missionary Row” with the long term Servants of God living there. Two years, four years, seven years they build their lives, with husband, wife, child, and children.
Home is within walking distance of a store, fruit stand, and Saturday fruit market.
Home is where I speak English, Spanish, and Spanglish, sometimes complete with air quotes as I attempt to speak a word I am not sure is real.
You ask me, “When are you coming home?” I know that you are expecting an answer of “Oh, at the end of September.” Please understand, that for me, my answer is, “Oh, at the end of September, I will be leaving my home of one year to return to the States.” I will find home in the States again, but for me, the end of September marks my departure of home, not my return home. I look upon my future return to the States with sadness, not because I don’t love the people there, but because I mourn my departure from Costa Rica, my home. I feel sadness, not because I don’t want a life in the States but because I am leaving my home for the past year. September doesn’t mark a home-coming; it marks a home-leaving.