White Picket Fence
Contentment. This is something I struggle with.
When Niel and I were looking to rent our first place in Hong Kong, I told him that I was struggling because I longed for a white picket fence. I did not desire an actual white picket fence but I desired to settle down – to have a place that our future children could call home.
I moved around a lot growing up. I struggle to answer the question of where I am from when people ask because I have lived in so many different places. I loved living in different places and different countries but there was a part of me that longed for permanency — that longed to have a place that I called home.
Niel on the other hand grew up in California. Most of his family, including extended family still live in California. He lived in the same town for his entire K-12 years. This is something that attracted me to him. He had a place he called home.
We looked at so many places to live in HK and none of them seemed right until we found a little village home with a white picket fence. I felt like God was saying to me that he sees me. I felt like that picket fence signified that while that place may not be the place that we will settle in long term, God knew my heart’s desire for a home.
When we moved from Hong Kong to Colorado, we bought a little house sight unseen. We were about to move internationally with a nearly two year old son and a newly adopted two and a half year old daughter and knew we needed to settle as soon as possible when we landed in the US so as not to cause more trauma and stress for our kids.
This home has been a blessing to us. It was move in ready. It is in a neighborhood that has a community center that had a free playgroup every Thursday. It is in a culturally diverse neighborhood. I am so thankful for this home and yet I struggle with being content here.
Niel and I know that this was the perfect spot for us to land but this is not our long term home. Now that we know Colorado Springs a bit better, we have a clearer understanding of where we would like to live in the future. The problem is that until I am able to work again, we will not be able to afford to move.
I must admit that I spend far too much time looking at homes online and dreaming. Dreaming is not necessarily a bad thing. However, sometimes it causes a desire for something I cannot have. This desire gets in the way of me enjoying and being thankful for what I do have.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.”
Maybe my longing to find a home is really a longing for something more than a physical home. Maybe it is a longing in my soul for my eternal home.
May I never settle to satisfy my heart with physical things when really the longing of my heart can only be satisfied in Christ. May I not get distracted with a mirage so much so that I am not thankful for the earthly blessings I have been given. May I recognize that my desire for a home will never be satisfied here on earth and may I look forward with anticipation to a day when I truly will be home.