"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Monday, April 27, 2009

Where do you live?

Where do you live is a common question we ask each other in our day to day interactions.

"Do you live around here?", the cashier at 7-11 asks me as he recognizes me and my coffee order for the third week in a row. The lady at the park, with the super cute 4 year old, asks me "Do you live nearby?". In church, after introducing myself to the couple behind me, they ask the question, "Where do you live?"

This question has been a difficult one for me these many years. How do I answer it this very simple question. Where did I used to live? Where have I ever lived? Where was I born? Where do I live this week or where will I live next week? Where did I live last month? Where do I want to live? ....all a bit easier to deal with.

Often when someone asks, I must I get a funny smirk on my face, because they usually sense that the question is oddly hard for me.

...Well, I say, I am from California... actually I am from Indiana, but have lived in California most of my life. Well, not really, I say, most of my adult life I have lived overseas... well except for the few years in between when I lived in California again... Well, first we lived in Kazakhstan--- that is near Russia, you know, and for the last few years I have lived in Turkey, but I don't live there any more, but all my stuff is there. So, technically I am homeless, but I am not living in my car or anything like that (I chuckle at this point and the person who is listening to me usually doesn't). I have lived in ... for a while now and am living right now in ..., but headed to Big Bear for the foreseeable future. I am really anxious to move to the UK, ...yes the UK, I know it is crazy! (and at that point I usually get the inclination it is time to change the subject by asking about their lives--- that usually works!)

But, honestly, when the guy at 7-11 asks me, I usually just pick a spot or even easier: I live nearby.

Do you live around here, I ask?

The lessons of "home" and "homelessness" have proved to be a constant struggle for me. I want so naturally to be settled, to be home. I remember when we first began to read the Kazakh language, reading in Kazakh the verses that describe our lives as "in Christ". In the Kazakh, that "in" is the exact same word (and meaning) as we would use when saying "I live IN Indiana". It is a directional word, it is concrete. "I live in Oregon"... I live in Kazakhstan... I live in Christ.

Imagine knowing your home "in Christ" as surely as you know your home in Long Beach. His word tells me that "he is my dwelling place... he has been my home" (Ps. 90), by I still find my search for home outside of Him alone. So, what if I answered that infamous question, "Where do you live?" I live in Christ...

Actually, the thought makes me smile as I wonder at how the 7-11 cashier would respond to that answer...

Lord, make this response the response of my heart!
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