Rach's Ramblings

Thoughts from another world

The Road Home

There is a moment on my way home where I am hit with a deep expectation. As the car tops the crest and travels through the gap in the divide I see a vista of still beauty spread before me. I see dear, familiar farm houses dotted into the distance. I see our hill to the left and I see the dust lift on the dirt road that winds down to our farm. I am home.

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No matter where I have been, over oceans or simply into town, that is the moment of homecoming.
Home. Oh how deeply rooted I am to that place. It is the soil I am planted in and the tendrils of my soul have spread deeply and drawn fully of its sustenance.
It calls to me here in India. It calls in the slant of evening light on trees. It calls in the memories. It calls in a single word. It’s as though it is sending messages on the breeze, reminding me of who I am and always will be.

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There is another road that speaks of home. A narrow, enchanting road, that winds between ancient gums and smaller saplings. It leads to my grandmothers and to buckets of memories and joys. It is long enough for ample thought and quiet enough for the thoughts to be unhindered. It has inviting twists and turns and has many different faces of beauty on its way.

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Both roads speak of homecoming. But they also speak of leaving. One direction arrival and another departure. One direction anticipation of familiar welcome and another direction unknown adventure. Each departure for a distant land leaves me wrenched. I am hesitant to arrive and to love as I await the leaving and loss; as they ebb and flow into each other I am tossed in their meeting place. I begin to believe that the only survival is in restraining my connection and oneness with home so that I can leave with less pain. A futile suggestion…

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I cannot separate myself from my roots no more than I can not be who I am. I will allow myself to love and live and connect and will believe that it is better for such a thing to end that to never have happened at all. There is no true loss if strength and renewal is gained and I am sent out once more into the world. Home is a thing of such beauty- I am enhanced by it. I can love it utterly as long as I am not restrained by it and lulled into forgetfulness of God’s future for me. The road will always be there, leading me out….and drawing me home.

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The first child

The first child. The rule keeper. The promoter of justice. Are the slices of cake exactly the same size? He has one more m and m than me. You said we could have 45 mins computer time and it’s only been 44 and a half minutes. That’s not fair!

Take the first child, the rule keeper and transfer him to a third world country. A place of fluidity. A place where rules bend and flex and do not keep a fixed position. All that he has held dear and all that has defined the parameters of his life is torn away and thrown into the air and he is left reeling and frustrated and judgmental of this new reality.

His black and whites are forced into new patterns of gray – and red and orange and purple. His rules, the rules of ordered society, are openly flaunted around him.

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He stares as he sees rubbish thrown out car windows or tossed on the path. He sets in motion a personal mission to stop his friends from littering. They look at him with raised eyebrows and a quizzical expression. They humor him but have no intention of changing their habits. Why would they? This is what you do! We explain to him that when life is a struggle for survival, rubbish disposal is not high on the agenda. We explain that his views are the product of an extensive media campaign and national effort to stop littering. He wasn’t just born with that ideal.
He is aghast when toys that are left out disappear. How dare other children steal them! Don’t they know it’s wrong! Why don’t they just buy their own. We gently explain that they have nothing and we have everything. We tell him that they see the world differently and taking a toy is often not seen as stealing but as making the most of an opportunity.
He watches the men cutting the lawn with scythes. There are four of them and only one cuts at a time. The take a break every five minutes and play in the yard- they start up a game of cricket using his bat. The job takes four days. He is aghast. They are being paid to do this job ( not by us) and he has been taught his grandfather’s work ethic. This is not the way it should be done! He cannot watch- but then returns to watch again. Once more we explain to him that work is done differently here. It is not better or worse, just different. We explain that he sees work a certain way because that is what we, and society, have taught him, but here they are modeled a different work ethic that does not match our own.

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We encourage him in all these things to be aware of his value adding. We add or subtract value according to our culture, upbringing and experience. We encourage him to not judge but accept that he is the visitor here and does not have enough understanding to pass judgement. Yes, rubbish makes things look dirty, stealing causes ramifications for others and work would be finished sooner if cricket were not played. But….. this is the lens in which we see the world and we cannot impose that lens on others.
I’m sure our advice and encouragements are full of flaws and I don’t think he is taking on much of what we say anyway. We keep saying it none the less. Perhaps it is soaking in. We cannot expect a 10yr old to be self aware enough to understand world views and cultural complexity- we still struggle with all this stuff too in spite of our adultness. But perhaps this experience is shaping him and stretching him and in the future he will be a more self aware individual. We can only pray!

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