It is just seconds after take-off on a flight out of a growing metropolitan area when a new mother with infant watches her beloved homeland fade away. Her petite mom grows smaller on the tarmac; but the beige scarf she holds can still be seen fluttering in a fervent wave.
Alone on an empty row with her sweet baby son nestled in her arms, tears begin to flow in a slow, feverish descent. The outpouring quickens, trampling down her face as uncontrollable sobs shake her small frame.
This woman is me and I’ve clearly lost my place.
“Is everything all right? What can I do to help?” the kind United co-pilot kneeling in the aisle beside me asks.
“I-I’m m-mov-ing t-to Can-Can-a-da” I stutter while sobbing.
“Would an upgrade to first class help?” is probably the only thing this bewildered pilot could think of to offer assistance.
Thirty-four years later and now a ‘bonified’ Albertan, things are more in perspective. However, empathetic feelings always arise for those leaving their homeland. My homeland, as all are aware who know me, is the southern state of North Carolina.
My mom, Frances, moved from post to post, rarely in one place for more than six months. Little chance to put down roots. She taught me that one’s homeland is often where you find yourself and therefore it’s necessary to “bloom where you’re planted”. This is often more difficult than it sounds, but very practical advice.
As a nine-year old Syrian refugee shared with the world as her family was leaving yet another camp: “my place can be anywhere Jesus is and he’s in my heart so travels with me everywhere I go”. Practical, poignant wisdom from the soul of a child.
In our mobile society, people seemingly leave their place of birth more than not. Many move for work, family, opportunity. Many are displaced. Warm welcomes and hospitality have grown ever more important. We, who have a place at the table, may offer Christ’s message and encouragement when we greet in caring ways. “Is everything all right? What can I do to help? How may I pray for you and your family? Would you like to come to Church with me?”
We all need a place to bloom. It only takes one person’s tender heart to show a glimmer of the love our Lord offers… wherever we’ve landed.
Acts 17:26-27 “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
NIV Holy Bible
© Diane Raborn 2016