Yes We Are Strange

We Are Strange

1 Peter 2:11-12

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

We are eight months away from our next furlough back in the United States.  I cannot begin to tell you the myriad of emotions, thoughts, plans, and a whole lot of other things that go on to prepare a family of seven for a year “home”.  But that’s a story for another day….

What I want to talk about is how very “strange” we are.  You see, preparing for furlough always reminds me that no matter where we live, we will in some way always be the foreigners.  Here in Chile, we feel very comfortable and love the people very much, but that doesn’t change the fact that my blonde, blue-eyed children attract a bit of attention in certain parts of the city.  My daughter once asked me, “Mom, why do people want me to give them my eyes?”  That was a response to so many people using the phrase, “Give me your eyes.”  Of course, I explained that they were not actually asking her to remove her eyes and give them away, but we all know young children think concretely.

Sometimes my kids love the extra attention.  Other times, not so much.  My 9 year old hates the fact that she is the only blonde girl in her ballet class.  On the other hand, this week I have been privileged to spend time with my sister and her family in another city as she gave birth to her sixth child a week ago.  While walking home with my 7-year-old nephew, who happens to be adopted from Haiti, we noticed we were once again attracting a bit of unasked for attention.  My nephew said to me, “Aunt Jenn, those people are looking at me.  And in their brains they are saying, ‘He’s so cute!’”  So obviously he is one who doesn’t mind it at all!

So you would assume that returning to our “home” country means we no longer feel strange, right?  Wrong!  Life has moved on without us and there is so much that we are ignorant of when we return.  Things that once felt normal now feel very odd.  And so, once again, we feel “strange”.  But there is one great thing about that feeling.  It reminds me constantly that this world is not my home.  I will always be a stranger here, regardless of what country I am in.  And that’s okay!  If I felt too comfortable here, that would indicate that I have settled in too closely with the temporary nature of this life.  There should always be a degree of “strangeness” to us.  I just hope my strangeness helps direct others’ attention to my true home and the Savior who awaits me there.

~Jenn

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