I sit in this room, boxes still unpacked in the corner, walls faded and peeling begging to be decorated, floors not yet finished, windows bare with curtains not yet purchased. I look around me and take in this house only 2 weeks lived in. I look down and see before me a suitcase, 2 weeks in this house and already a suitcase.
It’s the packing that has forced me to unpack. The boxes that have been opened and emptied have only been done so in order to repack their contents into a case or a bag, ready to travel with me. I sigh and wonder when my life became this, always packing or unpacking, never just being, never simply staying.
I had just told someone a few days previously how wonderful it had been to be settled in one place for so long without traveling. She had laughed saying that it had been no time at all, I protested and together we counted time. Eight weeks I’ve been here, and it feels like years. She points out that in those eight weeks I have been away for 2 weekends and moved house. I can’t help but laugh along with her – I see the joke, that 2 months including two weekend trips and a house move feels like a long settled time to me.
I look back down at my suitcase and I feel strangely at home with my things packed in a case, with my car full of petrol ready for the drive, with my house packed up ready for weeks of being empty. I think about the weeks ahead, the weeks of living from a suitcase, of staying in countless other’s homes, of the miles of road ahead of me, of all the new faces, the hellos, the fresh places. I think about the not stopping for long enough to find my bearings and I feel peaceful, I feel at home, I feel settled.
I smile to myself. The prospect of being unsettled leaves me feeling settled and I see the paradox. I think it must be the missionary kid inside me that lets me feel so comfortable in this lifestyle. Its the MK roots that I have allowed to bear fruit into my adulthood, it’s the life that was thrust upon me as a child that I chose to continue as an adult, that has led to this crazy paradox.
I zip up the case and stand carrying it downstairs. I am peaceful and there is a smile of content on my face, and yet as I place the case by the door there is something else too. There is that small piece of my heart that aching, screaming out to be heard, it’s wondering what it would be like to stay, and it’s yearning to find out, to experience it. That small part that will never let go, that will always make the leaving bitter-sweet, the traveling fun and yet hard, the constant packing and unpacking satisfying and yet painful.
I give thanks, because it is that piece of my heart, that pain, that yelling out, that reminds me of all I have. It speaks of the irreplaceable friendships, the close community, the love, the sowing, the reaping, the memories. The difficulty in driving away simply tells the story of the wonderful gifts God has given me where I am. A song of praise come from my lips going out to the one who always travels with me.