Monday, January 21, 2013

I Was Not Made For Here

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis

I raced my sister to and from the gumball machine. I remember asking once if we could have one. My father said, “No.”

I quickly got over my sorrow of missing out on the sweet gumball and continued to race Bethany.

 If my dad said, “No,” I knew it was final. No use arguing. 

My bare, tanned feet padded against the carpet, as I chased my little sister around the Miami International Airport. She and I were dressed in matching pajama dresses with silk ribbons woven in the bottom.  I remember my ribbon was purple.  I loved purple as a little girl.   

Purple was the color of my jelly shoes I showed off to my dad a few years prior, when he returned from a month in Venezuela. My five-year-old self was so proud of those shoes. 

Incidentally, Venezuela was why we were in the Miami International Airport. We were headed to yet another country. Hopefully, this one to stay for a while. 

I was an MK. Better known as a missionary kid. When I was three or four-years-old, my parents left their jobs, house, and most possessions in Arizona, driving to east Texas to start a new life training for foreign missions. 

We were in Grenada for a bit. I liked the beach and jungle. My fond memories entailed jungle adventures, fresh bananas, crystal clear beaches, and giant seashells. Well, in my tiny hands they were huge. Grenada was an ideal place for a kid to flourish. 

Then there was Mexico. I remember it being hot. Really hot. Dusty. I remember waking in the middle of the night, fearful of scorpions. Fondly, I remember the ice cold, bottled Coke. My siblings and I would share a bottle as a special treat. 

This time, we headed to Venezuela. Soon after taking flight, I was sick on the plane. I always got sick-to-my-stomach. It did not evoke much sympathy from my parents. I was miserable.  

Caracas, Venezuela was like nothing I had experienced in the world. Horns blasted day and night. Armed guards stood outside the post offices. The tiled houses stair stepped up hillsides, with metal gates and bars keeping the residents safe from rampant crime. 

I liked it. Despite picking up every stomach ailment in the tropics, I was happy there. I liked the brightly clothed women with huge earrings, bigger high heels, and florescent lipstick. The Spanish language was music to my ears. And, I liked the dog with the homeless man we gave food. 

The barrios were a whole other world in Caracas. They had no gates. Most had no doors. Pounded flat tin cans shingled the roofs. Eroded streets filed with kids in dirty clothes. You could smell burning in the air. Smelled like exhaust and burning wood. 

I still love that smell today. It’s the first thing I notice in all of the developing world nations I have visited. 

Unfortunately, we did not stay in Caracas long. In less than a year, we headed back to the States, my parents dreams in missions fading. 

In the States, we moved every few years. Never quiet settling. There was something in me longing to go back to the developing world. I never fit-in. America confused me. I was shy and quiet, so people assumed I was snobby. My world-view far outweighed that of most American adults. So, I buried my head in books. 

I would study maps for hours, I read National Geographic to learn about cultures and people all over the world, and I soaked up history. I longed to see the world. I dreamed of traveling the world. 

Somehow college and getting a degree set my travel back a bit. I still dreamed of being a foreign correspondent or documentary photographer. 

Life after college set me back further. I could barely pay bills, keep up with a broken car, afford furniture and starting out, let alone seeing the world. But, I longed. After many closed doors on short-term mission trips and six years of work, I finally felt like it was time to go. 

After a short trip to Nicaragua (where, of course I picked up a stomach bug), I moved to Australia, as a full-time volunteer with a Christian organization. Since then, I have traveled to East Timor and Papua New Guinea to work with community development and medical care. (I, of course, was the media for the medical ship, definitely not delivering the treatment.) 

Yet, I do not feel like this is it. This is not the end of my road. 

I was suffering from an incredible bought of “wander-lust” today when it struck me; it was not lust at all. I have this incredible longing in me for more. For more of seeing people’s lives impacted positively through community development. For seeing villages rebuilt after genocides. To see hope implanted on the faces of people who use to have none. 

I long for the smell of burning wood and exhaust, for washed out city streets in a ghetto, for children in rags playing in the street. I long to share with them a knowledge I have. A deeper knowledge of the world God designed for them. 

As long as I draw breath, I will long because no matter where I am, I am not home. Nothing in this world can satisfy. By this, I can only conclude that I was not made for here. I was made for another world. Heaven.    


Anonymous said...

Beautiful heartfelt words Erin. You truly have a gift for writing. We miss you here, but know that you are where God wants you at this time in your life. Looking forward to reading more from you. God bless. Mike & Kim

agirlcalledjean said...

I love hearing your heart!!! It stirs a familiar feeling in mine! Well spoken friend! - Jean