I wonder if the main character in the 2015 film Brooklyn would say the same about herself.
Would she introduce herself as Eilis from Brooklyn or Eilis from Ireland?
I watch her story unfold and see my own in the reflection of her eyes. I ask myself, “Am I Kate from Michigan or Kate from South Africa?”
I was born and raised in the small, Dutch town of Holland, Michigan. A month before I turned twenty-one, I moved to Cape Town, South Africa, for my final semester of college. What I thought would be a six-month stint turned into a ten-year transformation.
Eilis was born and raised in Ireland. In 1951, as a young woman living with her mother and sister, Eilis is miserable in her small, gossip-filled town. She works part-time in a shop with a terrible boss and shows no interest in any Irish boys.
Seeing Eilis’s despondency and bleak prospects, her sister, Rose, contacts an Irish priest named Father Flood in Brooklyn, New York, on Eilis’s behalf. With the priest’s help, Rose arranges for Eilis to make passage on a ship bound for America and work in an upscale department store in Brooklyn.
As I watched the immigrants gripping the ship’s railing with one hand and waving farewell with the other, my own hatred of good-byes caught hard in my throat. Family members lined the dock, stoic-faced, except for the stray tear. I swallowed hard, dozens of past airport scenes banging on the back door of my mind, demanding to come in.
Eilis didn’t realize it yet, but her life was about to change forever. Home, as she knew it, would never be the same.
Join me over at Off the Page for the rest of these reflections …
Back story: My editor at Discovery House recommended this film to me, as the themes parallel those found in my forthcoming memoir — so much so that if you want to know what my book is going to be about, just watch the movie. 🙂
With each chapter, they hit more and more roadblocks and setbacks. It was a spiritual battle as much as it was a battle with the Ukranian government. As I read the countless hardships and difficulties they faced, all on foreign territory, I was convinced that I would have given up. I would not have had the strength to persevere to the end. When I confessed this to Kim, she said, “It was all God. I would have said the same thing, that I couldn’t have done it. God was what got me through.”
What Kim and her husband Jahn thought would be a short jaunt across the ocean to adopt a child turned into an eleven-month-long nightmare. Jahn eventually had to resume his work in the States, leaving Kim alone in a non-English speaking country to continue the adoption process. Though he returned for two different visits for court appearances, Kim was largely on her own.
Until We All Come Home is the powerful testimony of God’s provision in the midst of a complicated web of corruption and spiritual warfare.
Once she finally returned back home with her newly adopted son, Kim realized the full effect that her experience had on her body, mind and spirit. She says she came home a different woman. After receiving counseling, Kim was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, so severe and traumatic was her prolonged experience.
By God’s grace, Kim has now recovered and is active in promoting adoption and the cause of orphans worldwide.
A month ago at this time, I was breathing in the intoxicating grandeur of the Rocky Mountains.
We were in Vail, Colorado for a family wedding, and it was pure bliss. The weekend was spent hiking, dining and dancing the night away, and passed altogether too quickly.
When it was time to say goodbye, we all felt like this:
We didn’t want to go home.
In fact, I could’ve stayed there forever, in spite of the waves of altitude sickness that assaulted all of us at some point, irrespective of age or gender.
I was reminded of my daughter, a year and a half earlier, who had been sledding for the first time.
On one of the first occasions that my African-born children ever experienced the exhilarating rush of a sledding hill, my seven-year-old daughter let the adrenaline get to her head. In a moment of boldness, she dove headfirst onto her circular plastic disc, soared down the snow-covered hill, and biffed, chin skidding across the ice. A howl could be heard from the bottom of the hill to the top, and the best I could do was to dab her bloody chin with a used tissue. Over the decibels of her wailing, I asked, “Do you want to go home?”
“Nooo!” she exclaimed adamantly between sobs.
Of course she didn’t want to go home. Why would she?
In comparison to a perfect (albeit slightly bloodied) sledding hill, home was a dull and boring second-class pick.
If you’re a parent, it’s quite likely that when you’ve gone to pick up your kids from a playdate at a friend’s house, you’ve been welcomed with the infamous whine: “I don’t wanna go home!”
I was throwing that same internal tantrum when it was time to leave Vail.
Often, even with bloody chins from sledding hills or sudden nausea from the altitude of the mountains, we would rather stay in the places we’re having fun than to go back home to the daily grind of the normal routine.
And if we’re honest, don’t we sometimes have the same view of heaven, in comparison to the pleasures on earth?
In his book, The Glory of Heaven, John MacArthur writes this:
“I have actually heard Christians say they don’t want to go to heaven until they’ve enjoyed all that the world can deliver. When all earthly pursuits are exhausted, or when age and sickness hamper their enjoyment, then they believe they’ll be ready for heaven. ‘Please God, don’t take me to heaven yet,’ they pray. ‘I haven’t even been to Hawaii!’”
Maybe for you it’s not Hawaii, but there’s likely something on earth that is tempting each of us to stay behind.
Maybe your view of heaven is tainted, and, like Matt Chandler once believed, you think heaven is going to be dull and boring after a while.
In his book, The Explicit Gospel, Chandler recalls his former feelings toward this verse of the song, Amazing Grace:
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.
“The picture painted by this great hymn is of an eternal session of praise music. I remember being a bit mortified by this idea after my conversion. Although I loved the Lord, the concept of just singing to the Lord for trillions of years was more than my mind could fathom. I thought, ‘Surely we’d get bored with that.’ Even the most amazing things on earth get a little boring after a while. So how is it that billions of trillions of years from now, I’m still going to be plucking my harp, sitting on my cloud in perfect contentment? … The image is conjured of robe-wearing, harp-playing, eternal song-singing Tom and Jerry heaven. Is that really what heaven will be like?”
If you’ve trusted in Christ for your salvation, then there is a home waiting for you in glory. Jesus himself promised that he has gone ahead to prepare a place for you.
As Christians, are we living as though we’re excited about spending eternity with our Lord?
Or are we pouting and dragging our feet, wishing we didn’t have to leave all that we enjoy here on earth?
Don’t get me wrong .. There is astounding beauty to be found here, and God put it here for our enjoyment.
But it’s temporary.
Not only is it temporary, but it’s only a shadow of things to come. Even the best sledding hill and the most breathtaking mountain range on earth don’t compare to the glory that will be found in heaven for those who love Him.
So let me ask you this:
When the time comes for the Father to call you Home, how will you respond?