Home and Not Home Yet
We’ve been living in our sweet Midwestern suburban house for over 7 years now, and this is the longest stretch of time that I have lived anywhere without moving. The stability has been good and healthy and healing. This in-between place has become our home. We are surrounded by good people that we love.
When I look back on my childhood, I am grateful for how many different places and cultures my family lived in. From quiet suburbs to cities that never sleep, to more than one coast and more than one continent, I look back on it all as a unique gift. I am thankful for the people and places I’ve experienced as a neighbor, classmate, and friend, and for the skills I learned without knowing I was learning them. I knew how to pack a suitcase like a pro by the time I was 6. New foods and new languages were a normal, welcomed part of life, and when I met a friend for the first time, it wasn't uncommon to expect that we were from different countries. I am so glad for the way my parents embraced new adventures, took risks and chose the unfamiliar. I’ve been forever shaped by all of it.
More recently, however, I’ve wondered if some of the anxiety I’ve struggled with comes from a childhood that was in constant motion. There are so many good things I would never trade that have come from the childhood I had. But, I have moments now when I question how healthy all the moving and uprooting was.
I long for stability for my little warriors. I also long for them to experience adventure and the learning that comes from change and travel. Our Midwestern suburban stability has been a gift but I wonder: does once a gift mean always?
Looking at my little girl, who’s undeniably Asian American, has made me long for diversity more than ever before. I longed for it before she came home but now, the longing has grown larger and louder.
I’ve tried to tell myself that this area we are in, this wonderful place to live, has become much more diverse over time, and it has…but I remember the places from my childhood where it was even more so. Having lived in so many very diverse places and having been connected to so many diverse communities before makes the lack of it that much more obvious and impossible to ignore. I know what my own kids are missing out on. I long for my little warriors to grow up seeing examples and leaders that look like them in everyday places.
I am weary over the lack of that I have become accustomed to. I really don’t want my kids to be. So, for now, I pray, and sometimes I cry. The truth is, we are making a home and we are not home yet. I am incredibly content and yet on the heels of that contentment, this particular longing pesters me.
I don't have any tips. I wish I could share bullet points or practical to dos by number on how to make this all better. I know there are people who get tired of hearing about diversity and how it's not where it should be...but some of us are living it and we can't ignore it the way those of you who tire of hearing it can. If you aren't living it, it just looks like yet another post on social media and you can hide it with one click. It won't stare you down in the mirror tomorrow morning like it does me.
Instead, I share all of this for those of you who may feel this way too. Whether you are just one other person or 10, I want you to know that you aren't alone. If you are lonely in your longing to see more color and less division and if your loneliness makes you wonder if you or your family belong...me too. If you are crying out to God, asking him how long and trying to navigate your place in the tension of contentment and longing, me too. If you want better for your children or the generations to come, but you don't know whether that means to push for change where you are for their sake, or move to a place where things look more like what you hope for, me too. Let's keep telling our stories now, when things aren't yet packaged up pretty.