Yesterday I made a quick stop at our local supermarket. I ran in and ran out and just as I was stepping off the front steps and onto the parking lot a feeling of rightness washed over me. The afternoon sun was slanting at just the angle to throw a golden haze over everything, and the sounds and smells of the city swirled around me…horns honking, warming oil from the woman selling tortillas on the side of the road, sun-baked pavement, and the smell of exhaust as cars raced around the circle in front of me.
It’s strange, I know, but I felt like I was touching something familiar…like I was home.
That word “home” is one that I can’t pin down anymore. It’s here and it’s there. Many of you have followed me on the ups and downs of cross-cultural adjustment, language learning, and just feeling downright exhausted with it all. I never felt like I could say that I truly felt home again. Anywhere.
But now I do. I don’t know when it happened…this feeling comfortable here, this feeling like I somehow belonged, even in an outsider kind of a way. Maybe it’s like a marriage. When you love someone, you accept them, you learn to live with them and then one day you realize you love them more because of their flaws, their differences, and the ways that they make you a better person.
That’s how I feel about El Salvador, and I realized it yesterday in that steamy afternoon-sun covered parking lot. I love the people, I love the country even with the struggles and the differences, and the hard parts. Maybe I love El Salvador because coming here has made me a better person. I hold my family tighter, I choose my friends more wisely, and I see the big picture. Life truly is beautiful…even in poverty and pain, and it’s not just about my corner of the world, it’s about a great big thing that God is doing everywhere. In your home, and mine, and over there somewhere.
I thank God for it, thank Him for the chance to live a life that’s not ordinary, thank Him for a life that is hard, but also infinitely rewarding. I thank Him for another day to struggle, to be surprised, to be afraid, to feel content and to feel like I am home.