Friday, August 26, 2016

Home

Where is home?

Petra and I lived in Orahovica for 9 years - longer than I've lived in any one place in my life. Without a doubt I considered Orahovica home. The house we lived in, our four kids who learned to eat and walk there and the daily routine all contributed to us calling it home.

So how will it be possible to call Zagreb home now?

For Enoh, our eight year old, home was most about his teacher and his classmates/friends. Here in Croatia you have the same teacher from first to fourth grade. Of our four children, this move is hardest on Enoh because of the relationships he has in Orahovica.

That's what I remember most about our moves when I was a kid/teenager. Sure, I missed the cornfields and apple trees I grew up playing around in Iowa and the field I spend hours playing home-run derby in in Wisconsin. But it was the friendships I missed most.

It's the friendships that created the greatest pull back to Croatia for my wife. Upon moving to Croatia 10 years ago, we calculated that Petra had spent exactly the same amount of her life in America as she had in Croatia. The thing is, she felt more at home in Croatia. In a relationship based culture (as opposed to the schedule oriented culture in America) this makes sense.  It can be difficult for a foreigner to find a way "in" to this sort of culture. But once one is in, leaving can be a difficult thing.

And so the web of relationships keeps us in Croatia despite an attractive option of working together with friends in the States. Simply put, Croatia is home.

In a recent conversation Petra told me the table most represents home home for her. And that makes a lot of sense. So many friendships were begun, renewed and strengthened around our dining room table. Of all the material things we moved, the table was first priority.



Of course, a material building and physical space can become both real and symbolic expressions of home. But without family and friends they become virtually meaningless. We were created as relational beings. And as God's creatures we look forward to the day when our fellowship will be perfect. We long to go home.

Until then we imitate what we look forward to in the imperfect world of moving and goodbyes. But even the imitation is enjoyable when we share it with others. Yes, our table is coming with us to Zagreb in expectation that it will see many more relationships enjoyed around it. Zagreb will soon feel like home to us. And the table will be one of the main reasons why.

Home is where the table is.

Here are some pictures of our fellowship around (and sometimes on) the table in Orahovica over the years.

Mexican night for our high school group in 2009
Dutch Blitz "Croatian Cup" 2010
2011

New Year's Celebration 2013

Emily's birthday 2014

Buffalo Wings 2014
January 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Cousins 2016

3 comments:

Milo Wilson said...

Really great post Jeremy. I know you will make Zagreb home as well!

Kevin and Alyssa Walker said...

I'm honored that the Buffalo Wing shot made the post!

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