Thursday, April 17, 2008

"...Not an anchor but a mast."



"Home" is a fairly loose term in our family and for good reason, I suppose. By my calculation, Jesse, our eldest, has lived in 11 different houses. That's just a little more than 1 house for every 2 years of his life.

It's not an outrageous number, really. I know people who have lived in many more in fewer years. So that score of 11 is just a figure that plots this family on some graph for global nomads.

******

"Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast."

I read this today in Kahill Gibran's little book, The Prophet, and it did something for me. We have not been able to provide for our children an anchor in a certain community. I suppose we weren't really looking to do that, after all, but whatever we were looking to do, we have not rooted them in a geographical location. There is not a spot on the map that reels them in and says, "This is where you are moored."

I'm not saying that they lack places to love that hold for them a collection of memories, speaking to them of who they are. The streams in Loita remember their bare and sun-browned bodies, I am sure. Those hills are imprinted with their growing foot prints. And then there is Portugal's Atlantic coast. The cliffs launched them off into the cold water far below and must retain the echo of their yells and laughter. They slept in the dunes and grew tall in the salty air there.

For all our wandering, I am hoping that our home is, somehow, a strong mast. May each of our 4 find it a true and trustworthy place from which to raise their sails.

13 comments:

Justin said...

this is a great metaphor...Maisie is well on her way to being nomadic as well! The calling we have on our lives doesn't lend well to stability and we always wonder what kind of impact this will have on Maisie and the others that may join us...It's great to hear your thoughts on this and to see that your kids ended up ok!

Sue said...

Yes, Lisa, you were not looking to build an anchor in location but in hearts. It is from within that one chooses in life. A strong mast that can withstand the storms, settle in the unsettling, ponder change, and then take oneself there,....
Praying for your 4 and our 5 to raise their sails with powerful winds that blow with peaceful truth.

Tehur Simmons said...

I loved this post. And I love you.

Trevor Borden said...

makes me cry

lisa said...

Thanks Justin, Sue and Tehur. (Nice to hear from you, btw, Tehur.) And Truby, sorry to make you cry!

I think I miscalculated Jesse's number of houses cuz I counted Westmont as 1 when in reality he's lived in 3 dorms and now is in his 4th college housing situation in Belize. So that's up to 14 0r 15 for him if you want to count residence halls...

lisa said...

Oh, and I love you too, Tehur! We need to plan a time for you to come stay with us :-)

Anonymous said...

THank you once again Lisa for a moving post. I treasure your family and the time I had with you (and those boys!) in those Loita streams and hills. You are a treasure.

Jill Baker

Baba said...

I always remember Trevor saying... my home is where my parents are :-)...I loved that...
and I'm thankful your family feels like a home tome too

Love you

Anonymous said...

What a challenge to me!!!

Tehur Simmons said...

Yes I want to go visit asap!I miss you so much...and I'd love to visit Tanzania:)

Abril said...

wow - this has got me thinking. as usual, i have about 500 questions for you about this, but i'll try to limit it to 2 for this little comment here :) 1) how do/will you know if your children have found "it a true and trustworthy place from which to raise their sails"? 2) as parents who come very much from a grounded, anchor-ey, moor-ey kind of "home", how do we instead concentrate on a mast-ey kind of home for our own children?

lisa said...

Abril, I just wrote you a long and hopefully very wise response and I lost is as our power went on and off a few times.

The gist of what I was saying is that I'm not sure we CAN totally know if we have provided that true and trustworthy place for our kids until they are old enough to tell us for themselves. Maybe you should ask Jesse and Trevor if they feel that that's what they have in our home.

I think that it's a lot about if we are true and trustworthy ourselves as people and parents. Are we comfortable with ourselves and comfortable allowing our kids to be themselves (not just tolerated but celebrated?) Is there a culture of trust and safety in our homes? Do we allow for questions and wonderings?

In our particular case (as international people) do we admit what is difficult or challenging about this lifestyle while also celebrating what is wonderful about it AND honoring the roots we have come from?

For you, coming from a more anchored place, it's helps a great deal that you don't fear the life you have chosen and what it means for your kids. If you can allow for grief when it is needed, yet invite them into the adventure expecting it to be a good thing, they will be more likely to embrace it and navigate it well. A major pitfall in generations past was not recognizing/admitting the challenges. Similarly, there are differences that our nomadic lifestyles place within us that we can be very thankful for. I rejoice that my kids see life through a more global lens. I rejoice that they are comfortable sleeping on a skin in a mud hut in Africa or gigging in a bar in Europe :-) OK, they are less at home in the affluent neighborhood where they attend college, but they are not melting down either. Their ability to find the good and enjoy the new is a gift.

I think that's enough from me now!

Anonymous said...

Well, you know the old song, This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.

I'm very happy that we can be grounded on the Solid Rock of Jesus.

And yet, who ever knew what the Lord would provide for our family as we were nomading around the world a few years ago?

Love, Mum