Missing Family, TCK, and World Water Day

I’ve been having an internal debate on what this post should be about. The past couple of days I’ve really been missing my family so I wanted to post about how wonderful they are and the things that I miss. But then this past Sunday I attended a concert that my school’s choir hosted and they sang this song called “The Road Home” which made me cry during the performance (it really is a beautiful, beautiful song). With my head down and in between my attempts at discreetly wiping away tears with my head down, I started missing whatever my concept of home was (or rather who my home is with – which I’m still trying to figure out), so I’ve wanted to share my thoughts on that. But then today is World Water Day and I am passionate about water, really, really passionate about water so I want to write on that.

Can I clearly share my thoughts on these three topics (clearly being the keyword here)? I’m not sure but here’s an attempt.

In case you didn’t know or if I haven’t already shared, my family consists of seven people: My parents, my three sisters and me, and my little brother. My youngest sister is 19-years-old, meaning all four girls, or rather women, are of college age or older. My one and only brother is 9-years-old. (Yes, poor him. “He is basically growing up with five moms,” four of whom don’t hold the official title but expect him to respond as if we were his mother. It can be confusing but don’t feel too bad for him though, he is what I would call spoiled.)

With four of five kids in colleges or working throughout the midwest, you can imagine how difficult it is to incorporate everyone’s schedules when coordinating a time when all seven of us can get together. For the past few years we have been successful planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas. (I’m pretty sure that it only get more difficult from here on out.)

One memory I have from this past Christmas when all seven of us were able to be together for a total ten days (woohoo!) is when my siblings and I, carrying on a tradition we’ve had for years, brought sleeping bags and mattresses out to the living room on Christmas Eve night and slept near the Christmas tree. As we were falling asleep my sisters and I took turns reading the story of Jesus’ birth from the different Gospels in the Bible. Other memories include times spent around the dinner table. We argue some, have theological/health/economic changes/world-topics conversations, we laugh a lot, and sing way more than that. Things like that are what I miss. Oh, family. The next time we’ll all be together is hopefully May 13th for my dad’s graduation from seminary. If not that then either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Yes, this year, due to my job requirements, the full-family reunion will either be on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Sigh. We’ll deal with that as it comes. I miss my family.

Though when I miss my family I sometimes think I don’t have a reasonable excuse for having such emotions. Why do I miss them? They’re in the same country as me. My parents and brother live 3 1/2 hours away from me, my youngest sister two hours, my oldest sister seven and my middle sister nine. The furthest distance I would have to travel to see a family member would be nine hours. That’s not bad, right? I mean, it’s better than having to travel to another continent… I still miss them.

Joseph (Bubba), Clara, Joella, Me, Vola, Maman, Dadah

This past Sunday I had the privilege of attending one of my school’s home choir concerts. The concert had three parts to it and the second part was dedicated entirely to international songs or songs dealing with missing home. Many a times in my life I’ve been asked where I call home. For a while my answer was Madagascar because that’s where my passport says I was born, then it was Kenya because that’s the one place I grew up and remember most of life from, then it became wherever my parents were. Except now, after graduating from college and getting a job, I know that I have officially claimed my independence from my parents so that’s no longer an “okay” answer. Even when I talk to others I’ve unconsciously stated it: “I’m going to my parents’ house to visit them.” Browsing through Pinterest the other day I saw a pin that said, “Home is where I can poop for however long I desire.” I chuckled but thought how i’ve thought that sometimes.

They have a term for people who grew up the way I did: Third Culture Kid. Or TCK. Definition: “A  TCK is a person who has spent a significant part of their developmental years in one or more cultures outside their parents’ culture, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture into a third culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any.” I am a Third Culture Kid.

Through this process I’ve come to realize that my earthly home is less about where and more about with whom. My parents moved around a lot (they’re still moving, they’re about to make another move) but home was with them. I fully acknowledge that at this current season of my life, home is a place: in my apartment, in small-town Iowa. I look forward to the day when I can once again say my home is with another person. A positive thing that has come from this uncertainty I have of where I, in essence, belong, however, is the realization that this living on earth thing, this is temporary (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Temporary, as in not forever. Praise the Lord. I like that because to live here forever, well, by golly, that would be difficult.

And finally, water. Today, March 22nd, is World Water Day. Like I’ve stated before, I am passionate about water and although I don’t necessarily acknowledge it every day, I am so thankful for water. I’m thankful that I can go to my faucet, turn it on and fill a glass with clean water and take a drink. Charity: water is an non-profit organization I support because of their genuine desire to help provide water to those in developing nations. 100% of their public donations go to funding water projects.

Did you appreciate your shower this morning? Me too. Do you have a desire to help? You should. There are many ways to help bring clean water to others who don’t have any! Yes, I’m guilting you with the “you are blessed so you should desire to bless others as well” but when you think about it, you are and you should. You really, really should. Here, go to charity: water‘s website and mosy around; that’s a great first step. The least I ask of you to do today is to acknowledge that it is World Water Day and tell one, no, four other people about it. How? Facebook, Twitter, or a blog post. Along with  clean water, you have easy access to all of the above.

Almost one billion people do not have access to safe, clean drinking water. That's 1 in 8 of us.
You can help.


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