A new chapter

by Grace Ko

“So, are you guys coming back?”
”Are you coming home?”

It only reiterates the longing in my heart to run away, and return. To the familiar, to where things always seem as I have left it. 

But to answer these questions has become a tricky thing, waging a war on the inside, unbeknownst to those asking. Reality is, we can't answer these questions. Because we don’t know. 

What I do know is that each year here, living “overseas” has been an adventure, full of twists and turns, the unexpected, the uncertain. We’ve gone year by year trusting there’s a way and a plan for us   That there’s a reason we left behind the comforts of “home”, family and the dearest of friends into unchartered territory. And there’s no doubt we’ve received more favor than we could have dreamt of. With it, we’ve caught a glimpse of His immense heart for this nation, our motherland, our origins. We’ve been given visions and feel called to things that aren’t always easy to relay when you’re still growing into the idea of such things yourself. But we now dare to dream and hope and dare to pray, that we would bloom where planted and let down our roots slowly. 

It's been hard living in limbo, never knowing if we’ll go back to New Jersey, “home”, while trying to be fully present. I’m prone to always think of “Plan B” as returning, oh you know in case things here don’t “work out”. My safety net, my shield, to keep things here at an arm’s distance. What we’ve left behind, for what we thought was temporarily, call out to me. But my heart needs a check-up, of the emotional/mental/spiritual kind because it’s keeping me from calling where my feet are planted “home”. 

What is “home” and where is it? They say, home is where the heart is. But what if your heart is in more than one place? What then? Grieving, longing, is what. 

It's been a week since we’ve left Seoul, the only place we’ve called home here in Korea. The first “home” J has known. A place where we made new lifelong friends and reunited with old ones. Where we hosted dinners and breakfasts and lunches, where we spent countless hours huddled around our dining table breaking bread and debriefing.  Where we dreamed and cried and shared. Nicknamed “The Lookout”, I spent many hours and days looking out onto a magnificent view of Seoul and pondered what I was being called to in this season. 

This past season didn’t leave much room for looking out. It’s been a trying one, one that has tested our limits as a family and has had us crying out in desperation and exasperation. One where my heart has been leaning into the lies that creep in, convincing me that I’m alone, that no one cares or understands. My heart has not quite caught up with all that has changed and all we’ve had to say goodbye to. What was safe before has felt uncertain, what was familiar now foreign. All this catch-up has left me fatigued and confused. 

But in the past week, I’ve quickly realized that He does go ahead of us, and He knows just what we need. I came here kicking and screaming, refusing to accept life “in the country”, but turns out it’s just what I needed. The golden cotton candy sunsets, emerald green of rice paddies, the splish-splash of J in his kiddie pool. It’s the rest I’ve so wanted. 

A new chapter in a new home. It’s a lot to adjust to. But something tells me, everything is going to be okay. Praying this new season will be one of peace and calm, rest and rediscovery. And lots of books, time to pick up calligraphy again and blog-writing, hopefully more of the light-hearted kind.