(This is a guest post from another former youth student. They wanted to remain anonymous. He was a great kid and has grown up to be a great person. She's bright, deep, insightful, smart, and on top of all that, has a wicked sense of humor. It seems like he is on the path on becoming a pastor and the Church would benefit from such a leader.)
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like a weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.
“Where are you from?” is a very complicated question for me.
My dad called me “Original Texan”; my grandpa called me a “Dallas Cowboy.” But I attended elementary school in South Korea. Every year on the first day of class, teachers did a student demographics survey. Teachers would ask, “If you were born in this providence, raise your hands.” And a few raised their hands in response. After the teachers named all the providences, they would notice a missing hand. “Someone is not paying attention here. Who did not raise their hand?” Then, all eyes turned to my reluctantly-raised hand. Teachers interrogated me, “Where YOU from?”
Then, my family moved back to the States, to a small town in New Jersey. It was a homecoming, I thought. But when I first stepped into class, they noticed my skin color – which sadly is still considered foreign in this country – and my name and my accent. They asked, “Where are you from?” I replied, “Texas.” Then, they asked again, “No, no. Where YOU from?”
After some years, I transferred to a school in Virginia. They asked, and I replied, “New Jersey.” They responded, “No, no. Where YOU from?”
Then, I moved to Georgia to attend college. They asked, and I answered, “Virginia.” They responded, “No, no. Where YOU from?”
“Where am I from? Where is my home?” I believe what is described in Psalm 131 is where my “home” is. In this place, I don’t have to be anyone; I don’t have to do anything. Here, I am just a little child, one of many members of “home.” Here, I am a clueless kid, who does not know much. I am also a weaned child, who does not necessarily have to be with its mother. I have been given the freedom. It is up to me whether to stay home or not. But I still remember the feeling of being fully dependent on my mother’s milk, still desire the feeling of being “home.” So I choose to stay and my soul is like a weaned child with its mother.
Here, I find contentment, security, and trust.
Here, I am calm and quiet.
Here, I am loved.
Here, I am “home.”
I am from here and this place is indeed special to me. I was raised here; I was fed here; I was disciplined here. This place shaped my life styles and principles. I cheer for this place, and I cry for this place. I want to live for this place, and I want to die for this place.
Here, I am no longer a stranger and an alien, but I am a citizen with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-20). If you strip this place away from me, I will be an orphan without foundation, without identity, without refuge, and without hope.
I am from this perichoretic community, the house in which the Triune God dwells.
My trust is in here.
My hope is in God forever.
And I pray the prayer of David: that “I could live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple (Psalm 27:4).”
So let me ask you today a question that you probably have never been asked before, “Where are you from?”
“No, no. Where YOU from?”