Wednesday, February 25, 2015

From My Commonplace: Between Worlds

A few weeks ago, Marilyn Gardner's book Between Worlds: Essays and Culture and Belonging was on Kindle special and was circulating widely around the online circles I frequent.  I'm glad I downloaded it because it resonated with me deeply on so many levels.   I am not a 'third-culture kid' (child raised outside their parent's home culture) as the author was, but my childhood was marked by frequent changes and transitions.   I moved overseas as a *very* young adult, fresh out of college.  I have actually never lived in the States as an adult more than temporarily. I have lived in 28 different houses/apartments/dorms in my 35 years.  I have lived in three different foreign countries (Papua New Guinea, France, and Cameroon) and spent significant amounts of time in a fourth (Australia).  My children have lived in all of those countries too. (My youngest hit her fourth continent before age 3.)  I have known many wonderful people and had many rich experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything.  I have also said far too many goodbyes.  I long to put down roots somewhere, and mourn that every time I've started to I've had to be transplanted.  Again.  Yes, this book resonated with me. 
A few of the thoughts I am still contemplating:
"Where was God in all this?  We had to learn that God was permanent despite our impermanence."
"An arrival is the end of one journey, the beginning of another."
"I've come to realize that longing is okay as long as it does not paralyze, as long as I slowly continue to embrace the life that has been given at this time, at this moment."
"Above all we wait for God.  We move forward in faith only to be stopped in transit.  So we wait.  It's not time.  We sit tight.  There are dozens of ways that God moves in and orchestrates our plans, our movements. We may never know the reason for waiting.  It may elude us until the day we die and we're on the other side of eternity."
"For even as I experience loss and the inconsistency of place I learn paradoxically of the constancy of God."
"Calling had an upper, not a lower-case, 'C'.  Mom and dad's Calling was to God Himself, and that would never change.  That call was irrevocable.  The call to Pakistan was lower-case.  If they had to leave, God was still God.  Their ability to stay in Pakistan might change, but the Call of God would never change.  And God's Call included their children."
~Marilyn Gardner, Between Worlds

My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Revelation, with a commentary The Final Word (Wilmshurst)
Theological or Christian Living: Age of Opportunity (Tripp)
Book Discussion Group Titles: Idylls of the King (Tennyson), Watership Down (Adams)
On Education: How to Read a Book (Adler), The Abolition of Man (Lewis)
Topics of Special Interest: The New World (Churchill)
Novel/Biography/Memoir: Nicholas Nickelby (Dickens)
Read-Alouds with the Children: On the Banks of Plum Creek (Wilder), The Silver Chair (Lewis), Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold (Benge), The Milly Molly Mandy Story Book (Brisley)
On the Back Burner: Inferno (Dante)


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  1. Wow. I've not moved much, really. In college I moved around almost yearly, but I have essentially lived in two houses as a child and two as an adult.

    Yet, that quote on learning about the permanence of God still resonates with me. Thank you for sharing it, Jen. Blessings to you.

  2. "We had to learn that God was permanent despite our impermanence." That is powerful. I think the beauty of a mobile life is that it forces you to openly acknowledge the transitory nature of this world. Parked in my home for the last ten years, I like to try to pretend that it isn't so. The goodbyes come anyway, though, and they hurt just as deeply. I'm going to copy this one down into my own commonplace book. Thank you for sharing it.


  3. Jen, I have been reading through this book as well. So many applicable things not only to TCKs, but also to people God tends to move around more so than others! "The loss and inconsistency of place" does have a profound impact on who we are and how we perceive the world and live in it. Praying you and your family cling to the constancy of God.