In every TCK’s mind, there seems to be a lingering notion that home is where the heart is. However, far beyond the platitudes that others may think or say to make it feel this way, it is harder still to pin down “home” to a certain place or remote location.
As long as I can remember, it has been a struggle to fit into what society’s view of being “normal” was actually meant to be. Even as far back as elementary school, I would seem to stick out like a sore thumb. Trying to recreate Sunday school during lunch break, or hoping for a time when I could return back to my relatives overseas, or even trying to be alone in my thoughts, if even for a second, seemed to consume my mind. The truth is, sometimes we TCKs are meant to be different.
Growing older led to more of the same, and less of the familiar. It wasn’t until I first moved out of my “home” that I realised what being home was meant to be. It wasn’t simply being part of a building that had been a homey environment over many, many years, but being part of a family that I could never really come to grow out of, no matter what my age or stage of life. Being in my family is what home means to me.
Of course, sometimes those within a family don’t get along, or have disagreements, or move on. But they always remain family. Sometimes, the family grows bigger, and includes those who aren’t necessarily blood related, but are family all the same. Oftentimes, family becomes a burden, but always remains a blessing. To me, that’s what family is, and family remains when everything else around seems to change with time.
I recently had the opportunity to visit New Zealand, where I met a lot of my fellow Australian colleagues during an annual conference. Despite having worked together for over three years, I had never met any of them face-to-face until the conference, due to the nature of my work as a writer. However, being present in the same room, I felt like we were one big family—all different shapes and sizes, thoughts and intents, hopes and dreams; yet still united by the bond of Christ-like love for one another’s unique upbringing and perspective.
I have come to realise the unique trajectory my life has taken over the course of the past 26 years or so; in that, through the many changes, and ups and downs of life, the constant that has remained is nothing but family. Despite the distance that separates those I call my loved ones, or the unique callings that we come to realise as we mature in life, or even the people we spend more time with than others, we still cling to our connection to one another that remains as strong as ever.
Perhaps that’s what family is meant to be.