For the first time in my life I am not in my hometown for Father's Day. And it doesn't really bother me.
Not that I don't love my dad, quite the contrary. I call him every weekday (unless I don't have a cell signal) to check in on him. I think this means as much to me as it does to him.
I am happy that as a Christian I have a heavenly father who gives me things I need (and occasionally things I want).
It is also the first time I am away from my kids, which would have happened even if we were in Joplin instead of Guatemala. The good news is you won't get a sappy post about how I have given up some comforts to follow God's plan for me.
Instead I will point out one word in that first sentence: hometown. I love the greater Joplin area along with the friends and family who live there. But I no longer call it home.
Home for me now is in a house in Guatemala where my wife and dog are. And it's not just because that's where my "things" are. I learned after the tornado how little "things" mean to me.
It's home not just because my new friends have welcomed me. It certainly does make things easier when the people around you are welcoming, loving and helpful. My life brightened this week when I saw Yoli at PROVEE (she's been sick) and then I saw her again at church today. But, like I said, I believe God gives you what you need, and I need people in my life. My daughter said something to us when she was little and it's an attitude I want to adopt. We were camping and she asked if she could go play with her friends. We asked her what friends and she pointed at some kids her age across the park, saying "they're my friends; I just haven't met them yet." Everyone you come into contact with is potentially a friend you haven't met yet.
It's home not because - as the song says - that's where I hang my hat. Mainly because I don't like wearing hats. When you have awesome hair like me, you don't cover it up.
On Saturday, I did something for the first time in Guatemala. Something that I had needed for about two weeks. I got my awesome hair cut. What was surprising - and not just that it came with my face getting exfoliated - was how it made me feel.
I felt at home.
Several things we do at home we don't do while on vacation or mission trip. Getting a haircut is one of those. People have asked if this feels like home, and my wife and I say that having our dog here helps (although people take their dogs on vacation). Buying a car and things for the house helps, too. Having new friends helps as does doing the same work on a regular basis. But doing that thing that you only do at home just cemented what I had thought: this is my home.
And He said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life." Luke 18:29-30