Wednesday, 12 March 2014

a place to stand

It's been a strange season, these past few weeks. I spent at least a week grieving over my sister, fearing a phone call to say she was gone. Then I looked deep to find the source of that grief. She's okay, by the way - in hospital for the time being with a good support team looking after her baby.

For the last 13 years or so she's done so well. And I've made progress too - at least I think I have! So the fact that my sister can fall back into despair so deep she can't endure it is a warning to me. I don't suffer from bipolar disorder and that's a huge blessing ... but I still have this inner tendency to worry, over-analyse and live with regret for what might have been.

So last week I made a new commitment to embrace Ireland as home. I've lived here for almost 14 years now but my roots have yet to go deep. I still miss New Zealand - the bare-foot hot beaches of summer, mild winters, familiar buildings, streets and people. Even the trees and the hills are different here! I don't recognise the wildlife or signs that the weather is about to change. Smells and sayings are still foreign to me, and my family are about as far away as they could be!

But in order for some deep part of my heart to heal, I need to let go and embrace THIS place as home.

The Maori people of New Zealand have an amazing word to describe that sense of belonging we all yearn for. Turangawaewae is most simply translated as 'a place to stand' - a place where your feet are planted and you live your life surrounded by family and community. That sounds good to me these days.

I used to think that if anything happened to my hubby I'd be on the next plane out with my kids in tow. But this is their heart-home, the place where they were born and learned to walk and talk, surrounded by grandparents, cousins and a whole community of people who are part of the fabric of our lives. I'm not so sure now that I could uproot them and put them through that same sense of homelessness or not quite belonging.

This week I find myself reaching out to embrace where I am and who I am, right now - this stranger with an Irish passport, a husband, three kids and a house on the edge of a farmer's field.

I used to dread getting old here in the Irish countryside, unable to drive and miles from the nearest friend - but who knows what might happen between now and then? Maybe we'll retire to a cottage by the sea, just down the road from supermarkets, cafes, kids and grandkids. It's hard to imagine right now when I'm still buried in nappies, school runs and mountains of laundry, but anything's possible, right?

Now, where did I put that shamrock cookie cutter?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Laurel
    My heart used to tear in half each time I left my family in New Zealand after a visit. It felt like a searing physical pain but was much deeper. Over time has become less painful. I too miss what you miss.

    Like you, I am learning to put down deeper roots where I am. But the deepest roots and most important roots I am cultivating are those in our Father in Heaven, who through the love and cross of Jesus Christ, is reconciling me to Him. Then wherever I am on this planet, I know I have "Turangawaewae, " a place to stand in the Kingdom of God, on the rock of Jesus.

    I pray the Lord Jesus, through His Spirit, will fill you with contentment and joy wherever He places you.

    Love Vicky x