Thursday, June 4, 2015

Closing Time

"Time for you to go out to the places you will be from."

photo by Louise Koonce (KICS)
Referencing a song made popular in 1998 as I think about graduation dates me as either really young or really old, depending on how old you are I guess.
But, for real. Ben just handed diplomas to 10 bright young people who for probably ten different reasons went to high school in Kigali, Rwanda. Before they left, we got to have them over for dinner and it was fun to hear their dreams for their lives. One wants to be a pilot. One a human rights lawyer.  One a golfer. I'm not sure what Phoebe actually wants to do, but I've seen enough of her work to know that she will make the world more
beautiful. Ten stories that began in all parts of the world, converged here for a breath, and are being launched out to make a difference.
These ten will grow old. They will likely get married and have jobs and bills and kids. They will probably answer this question a million times: "Where are you from?" And, only a couple of them will say, "Kigali, Rwanda." For others this was a stopping point on a journey full of stopping points. For some, like me, they could grow up somewhere practically their whole life, but make a new life somewhere else that becomes their "from."
Ben and I have long argued where we're "from." Being a New Yorker, he's reluctant to claim any other place as his - even if he's lived there FOR TWELVE YEARS with the LOVE OF HIS LIFE and brought FOUR BABIES HOME to that place. (no, I'm totally fine with it.) Having my hometown ripped away from me as an adult, and then finding community in a place for twelve years with the love of my life and my four babies made Ohio my "from."
And now, by God's grace, Rwanda is becoming my kids'  from. There's a saying in the circle of third-culture and missionary kids: "Home is where you unpack your suitcase." We are about to live that saying out in new ways in the coming weeks as we unzip bags in France, Long Island, Philly, Fairborn, and Lake George.
Between Ben's allegiance to New York and my dying dream to become the Fairborn mayor, this will not ever be our from. But it has sure become our home.
For these graduates, who aren't kids anymore, I am excited to see them go out to the places they will be from. I hope for some of them, it ends up being right here.

We got to celebrate our fourteenth anniversary of marriage the same week we celebrated our first school year at KICS. Happy anniversary to us, wherever we're from.