I've been traveling for the past few weeks, visiting my family in Washington and catching up with good friends along the way, but it is always good to come home.
Home. It conjures up so many images. For me, they are good ones. For others I know, not so good.
I am in the middle of a novel by Angela Hunt called "The Face." It is about a young woman who was born without a face. Her mother died right after her birth, and her father (a CIA operative) was killed on a mission two days later. She is raised by the head of a secret CIA facility located on a remote island in Spain. She has never been off the island. Despite not finishing the novel, I am seeing a metaphor develop which mirrors our life here on this earth. Because of her physical deformity, this highly intelligent woman is stiffled in real life. She's never eaten at McDonalds but thinks they must have the best burgers on the planet because so many have sold. Her best friend is a blind man who, because he has no idea about her face, doesn't really know her. People don't smile at her in greeting, she's never learned to use her face to express emotion, and she's never walked down a street window shopping.
But she's happy where she is. To her, this life she lives is normal because it's all she has ever known. Her work as a CIA computer guru is hard, fulfilling, life-saving work. She's aware there is something more out there, but it's not real to her. She fears it, even. Instead, she experiences "real life" through movies. Lots and lots of movies.
I am challenged on a couple levels. First, there is the picture of life on earth as the remote island. Heaven will be so much better: more colorful, tastier, brighter, happier - just as life in the "real world" is bigger and brighter than one on a small island. The island, however, is where the work is done...important, life saving work. Second, and more challenging for me, is the idea I'm missing out on life here and now by being too fearful of rejection. Is there something I'm missing, something huge and lively and amazing, because of the risk involved, the pain others can inflict with hurtful words, or the messiness of real people vs. movie characters?
Am I "at home" with a shadow of what could be?
Until next time,