How have your pains and sorrows strengthened you? At times, does being separated from the comfortable company of your family and friends help you to bring God's kingdom to the bigger world? - In His Steps guide question, 22.10.09
I laughed at this question when I read it last night ... I wasn't being heretic or anything but because it was so true for me, at least, in my life. The question spoke to me. I was amused because it reminded me of my life.
I entitled my blog "wanderer" for the exact fact that I've traveled or lived far from home most of my life. And it's been painful as well as joyful. Moving requires a lot of energy and strength because you have to say goodbye to the people that you've met or have made friends with. No matter how often you say goodbye, it never gets easier. It is also a logistical nightmare! Packing is nostalgic and tedious at the same time. My brother would often comment why our garbage made it home to Manila. Firstly, the packers were like hurricanes who put anything that wasn't nailed to the ground in a box. So, garbage came with. :) Secondly, we couldn't or rather my mom couldn't watch over every single piece of paper but as a safety precaution, she took everything, including folded tissue papers in between photos, etc. It's all very funny and also very sad for some.
But going back to the question, being away from the comforts of home and family indeed makes you more dependent on people. You begin to crave the attention and company you left back home. You strike up new friendships. Church becomes a place of solace. And you appreciate the people that really keep you company and make it less lonely being alone in a strange land without your family and old friends that have grown up with you through the years.
Since I grew up everywhere, I've had friends that grew up with me and those that grew apart from me. I've never returned to any of the places I've lived in before except Manila.
But I always carry the memories of the good ol' times.
That's why I cherish the Philippines so much. It'll always be my home.
And that's why I also appreciate Geneva so much, because it's become my second home. I was asked once where I would live if not in the Philippines, I said Geneva.
Not just because of the beauty of Geneva but because it has helped me grow in service and grow closer to God. Here I was able to know God deeper through community life and Church and I was also able to share my faith with others - people like me, far away from home, in a strange land and in need of a helping hand. I was and still is often at the receiving end of that and when the opportunity presents itself, I try to do the same.
So, long story short, it is difficult to be far away from home but in the discomforts of living far away, there is a new comfort, the possibility of striking up new friendships, having free time on your hands and being able to share God's kingdom in any possible way - be it to help others, serve in Church, go on missions, etc. And having had the sorrows and pains of life, I can also be a wounded healer to those that need it. And in that, it has helped me to heal and gain strength because I know I'm not alone.