To be a sojourner, one must have no home. Yet our every fiber is trying to create that place where we can rest, and be the master. We do it to protect our children and our sanity, we do it for productivity, we do it for comfort and dominion, we do it for solitude and hospitality. We live with comfort in tension.
To be a sojourner, one must be at home in many places. I gaze in glory at the sunrise over Mt. Kadam. I luxuriate in the fellowship of family and friends who have become family. I savor passion fruit, sweet oranges, mango, pasted beef (beef in a peanut sauce), grilled salmon, spiced African tea and a California red. We weep over loss even oceans’ away. Our hearts are knit to places near and far, unbound by geography.
To be a sojourner, one must speak many languages. I have moments of confusion, assessing my audience and knowing that any one of the languages I shall attempt won’t speak to all, so I find myself switching between American English, Ugandan English, and Karimojong all in one sentence. My vocabulary and syntax change if I know someone will be translating for me. We’ve been asked by newcomers if it is demeaning to speak to Africans with an accent, while the Africans have thanked us relieved that they can understand. I considered it a compliment when I was told that I had lost my American accent completely! It doesn’t take visitors long to pick up a word or two themselves. We speak in order to connect, no matter how broken the translation or elliptical the phrasing. We learn that right and wrong do not exist in language when relationship is the goal.
To be a sojourner, one must speak a single language. There is one God. There is one love. There is one redeeming story that all the world must hear, whether through word or deed. This must be our theme no matter where our feet walk, what food our mouths eat, clothes our bodies wear or where we lay at night. This language is our foundation and it does not leave us no matter how long or high the flight.
To be a sojourner, one must be willing to go into the unknown. We have now lived in Uganda for over six years. It is no longer the strange and foreign land. We find ourselves going again, but now returning to the land that bore us, that defined us and sends us out. We know that much has changed, in ourselves and in the nation. We face the mystery and certainty of time’s relentless march.
To be a sojourner, one must know where they’re going. As we enter six months away, six months suspended in transition we do not go alone, we do not go blindly. We go ensconced in the Lord’s hand, ever drawing us nearer to his glassy courts, our eternal home.
We are sojourners in this world. We walk in faith thankful to be reminded that the Lord is preparing a perfect home beyond any earthly comparison, and that one day the race will end in glory’s bed.