A colleague asked me a question recently as we sat in Starbucks having coffee one morning.
He asked, “Are you feeling at home yet?” I looked at him with what had to have been a strange look as I fumbled to find the right words to describe what I was feeling. I said that I really enjoy it here. The scenery is beautiful, I love serving at my congregation, I love the people here, I am learning my way around — but that still didn’t answer the question.
I then continued and said that I sometimes still think to myself, “Wow, I really live here in Washington and Minnesota is way over there.”
So, in a way, I do feel at home here but in another way, I still feel like I am on an extended vacation. I say this with all due respect to all the people I have gotten to know here. I also say this not to suggest that I regret moving out here, for I don’t regret it. This was indeed God’s will for my family and me. It’s just that after 45 years living in one state, it is still hard to imagine that I don’t live there anymore. Even though part of me is still drawn to Minnesota, my home is here and I like it.
I believe it is a good thing, though, to be a little “unsettled” as it were. I mean, I don’t want to forget about my Minnesota roots. I grew up there. My family lives there (or nearby). I don’t want to forget the values I learned living there. I don’t want to forget the memories of driving in blinding snowstorms. I don’t want to forget the toughness I learned, like walking downtown in minus-40 wind chill to get some coffee because I was too lazy to start my car and let it run for 20 minutes to warm up. I have many good memories of Minnesota — all of which make me the person that I am today. If I were to totally forget my past and become too comfortable here then I risk losing what makes me, me.
As a Christian, I live here in this world, but this is not where I am from. I am from God, as I was beautifully and wonderfully knit together by God in my mother’s womb. I came into this world by the will of God. I was planned by God well before I was even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes. God knew me long before anyone else. This is what truly makes me, me; but it’s the future to which I look and get excited. You see, I look forward to returning to my heavenly home someday.
May I never forget who I am and whose I am but also may I never become too comfortable here that I forget where I am going, thus turning away from the One who formed me. I live here in Washington but I will always be from Minnesota. I live here, in this world, but I will always be God’s child through Jesus Christ.
May you remember who you are and whose you are and may you always be restless in this world as you look forward to returning to your true home.
Pastor Eric Hullstrom leads the congregation at Living Word Lutheran Church (LCMC) in Puyallup. His personal site is heartofapastor.blog.