‘Is this not ours?’, says Rufus, holding up a game he has stumbled across on the shelves of our current home.
It’s the refrain of the last few months. I’m always saying it to the boys, as I implore them to be careful as they eat, drink and play with the constant risk of some sort of damage being done. And Rufus has heard it so many times, he now says it to me, assuming that most things are ‘not ours’. He does then wonder who’s they could be, as he has never met the people who’s house has become our home. Puzzlement is probably his default feeling when it comes to these unresolved questions.
We are very much at home here. We are ‘in’, and we are enjoying it in many ways. But we’re also very aware that we will soon be ‘out’, as this arrangement ends within the next month or so. We will then back to our more nomadic existence, carting around suitcases of belongings until, hopefully, we make it back to America in August.
Jonathan has just returned from his first return trip to the States. Thankfully they let him in, which allays that little niggling fear we sometimes felt that the visa, for some reason, wouldn’t work. That niggle will no doubt return, with a vengeance, when we return as a family in a couple of months but for the moment, we can relax knowing that we are going back.
That ‘home’ that actually was only ours for four months, and which will surely take some getting used to again. We will go back to being foreigners, and have to retrace our steps to navigate and re-familiarise with the different systems, routes and relationships.
One of the joys of being back in England for this time has been that feeling of familiarity. Familiar people, but also familiar ways of life and not having to think about how we go about normality. We’ve been very much ‘in’ England, tethered all the more through returning to the rhythms of friendships, family visits and even previous Yorkshire lives for both of us. It’s been a rooted limbo. A time of uncertainty, not knowing the outcome, but also precious and certain connections and relationships.
I’m thankful in so many ways for all the ways in which we’ve been rooted, but I’m also eagerly anticipating leaving the limbo behind. While we’ve been in and out, and in between, it’s been hard to be properly involved in a church family, to fully invest in new friendships, to wholly commit to things going on here. It’s made me hungry for real, settled involvement. I’m excited to get back to church in Illinois, and to the friendships that were just burgeoning as we left, and to settle into a place and routines that will last – at least for a while.
As ever, we’re thankful for our unchanging, steadfast God in whom we are permanently rooted, and who won’t let our feet slip whether we’re in or out, or that limbo in between.