Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Home: Being Broken

This time, I had a hard time going home. Usually, it's the other way around; usually, I find myself itching and squirming, vainly trying to suppress my inner child from asking, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" Somehow, I had spawned another inner brat that kept whining, "But why do I have to leave? Can't I stay?"

Yes, I jest. Be aware, though, that I do so in a most serious manner.

I was afraid of going home. In many ways, it's no longer the home I once left behind. In many ways, I'm no longer the same John Letoto that left home behind. Still, change itself was not what scared me; no, it was the type of change that left me feeling inadequate and clingy.

In the somewhat-controversial movie Juno, the title character finds herself asking deep, soul-shaking questions about love and faithfulness. In essence, she wanted to know if love was worth the loving, or if love would only end up shattered and broken. In the years since I've left home, I've watched many of those I know and love as they've felt the foundations of their faith cracking beneath them. I've listened to their voices, heard the tears in their words, and wondered to myself what in the world I was doing so far away...or what I would do if I sat close by...or if there was even anything I could do. I've sat by with silent frowns as friends gave up the dreams they once grinned about, the joys they once sacrificed everything for.

Stephen R. Donaldson writes about Thomas Covenant, his fictitious, unbelieving protagonist: "There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken." I've not come close to losing everything, but I will unashamedly say that I feel a huge hole inside of me when I think about home. No, not the fact that I'm not there; that's not a sacrifice. The void I feel aching inside is filled with the faces of people I think of late at night, people I love, people who've seen their hopes falter and fade. Do they know Christ? Do they know what it is to desire Him above all else? Some don't, and some do. When I left home, I felt like I was the one being broken; since leaving, I've seen those at home being broken, torn in two, and it's rare that they've been put back together. It hurts to go home and see so many broken lives, it really does.

A lot of those I've spoken to here find out I'm from Hawai'i and say something like, "Boy, going there to do ministry really must be suffering for Jesus!" They say that with a sarcastic grin on their face.

I want to wipe that grin off with my fist.

To many, the idea of ministering to a prostitute in Hawai'i must be better than doing so in Kentucky. They don't realize that that prostitute is a girl that used to work with me in the grocery store. They think of ministering to families of suicide victims in paradise and think it must be better than anywhere else. I think of those families and remember that I went to high school with some of the kids. It's a gross generalization, of course, but the point remains: Going home just isn't easy anymore.

posted by Bolo | 11:56 PM
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