I traded in our Chinese money for the Hong Kong dollar and considered it a joy to work with multiples of seven instead of six in terms of converting against the US dollar.
|Street in the Soho district|
Our final evening there, as weariness from the day's worth of
I was smack in the middle of a mini-vacation, but for the first real time, I was homesick. And my heart ached.
Perhaps it was that I experienced yet another cultural shift. I'd just become used to the Chinese yuan and now I was handling another currency. Perhaps it was that I'd just wrapped my mind around some Mandarin sentences and now I was hearing Cantonese on top of Mandarin. Perhaps it was that I was becoming accustomed to being rejected by taxi drivers in Beijing while here in Hong Kong they drove on the 'wrong' side of the road.
It was a lot of change all at once. Again.
And it made me want the West. I wanted to be understood. I wanted to have knowledge that a restroom (with an actual toilet even) would be in proximity. I wanted to go to dinner with our friends back home. I wanted to sit across the table from one of those rare girlfriends where knowing the other is a mutually shared privilege. I wanted salsa, not diced tomatoes.
|Love this door. And that man.|
On that day, the East reminded me with an intense emotional gravity that I was not at home. I was here, not there.
When we landed back in Beijing, a heavy blanket of smog greeted us on the tarmac. As I took a deep breathe still inside the airplane, deciding recycled germ-filled cabin air would be better than what I was about to walk into outside, the truthfulness of it all soaked in my bones.
Ever so tenderly in my spirit, I was reminded that I am not at home. That the West nor the East will every truly satisfy my longing for dwelling.
Because I'm made for something more. And so are you.
That you too look forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God, whether you are cognizant of it or not. A residency of perfection, where you are fully known and community flourishes, held together by the Godhead. A place where the unknown becomes known and the shadows become breathtaking light. Pain is gone: decay, death, loss, and tears are no more.
|I could not keep from staring at these roots|
You've searched for home too. Amid the joyous moments and comforting belly laughs of friendship, you've wondered. Settled in to routine and content in your season, your spirit has whispered quietly to your soul. Right there in your apartment. Right there in your beloved house of 20 years. You've observed the surrounding hurt and pain against the backdrop of a ticking clock and somewhere, deep down, you ache for something more. Something greater.
As you should. Because you aren't meant to feel too comfortable here. This Earth and its beings aren't meant to go on and on, void of imperfection or difficulty. It's meant to remind you that you're a pilgrim here. It's meant to be so blatantly obvious that this is temporary. It's meant to admonish us for emotionally responding as if this is it.
We're pilgrims here, feet called to walk the soil of this Earth, but hearts bent towards something upward. That innate longing is a beautiful propensity to discover the God who does not change, the One whose kingdom is in heaven.
Our very existence here points to our having purpose on this Earth and plans for His glory. I sure don't want to miss that. Our time here is of paramount significance and weight.
But in the meantime, on those days where I'm tired of fumbling with my chopsticks or fail grotesquely in my Mandarin pronunciation, I'll recall, unspeakably grateful, that a better country awaits (Hebrews 11:16).
Thank you Hong Kong for the reminder that I am but a pilgrim...
PS - In case you were wondering, I am no longer aching for the West...
|You have to get used to this sight. Or run from them like I do.|
|My man at Victoria Harbor.|
|Brief pause |
|Arches. Can we please incorporate them more into American architecture?|