Missionary Kids/TCK's,  Missions

Once an MK, Always an MK

It’s not my purpose to use this blog as an outlet for my own story and experiences, but from time to time things take up too much space in my mind and heart until they are freed on paper.

Up until last week it had been quite a while since I remember having that distinct “MK feeling”.  It comes much less frequently than it used to.  It’s a difficult feeling to put into words but for me it resembles a surreal mix of melancholy, sadness, wonder, grief, and joy.  It’s an acute awareness that I am small in the world; that belonging, life, and home are relative; that in fact you can never really go home, and that change is inevitable.  Basically, it’s a feeling of never-ending grief.  

All of those feelings and thoughts unexpectedly surfaced recently as my husband and I were driving “home” from vacation.

Side bar- I have to tell you it’s been the greatest blessing and irony of my life that I married a guy from the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.  The first time I travelled to East TN my Dad commented, “look at that, Bethany, you had to travel all the way to Tennessee to experience real culture shock!”   That was partially very true and we still laugh about it.  The irony is in how differently we grew up, but the hidden blessing is in the character of my husband and the stability that he naturally provides.

So back to that drive.  There we are somewhere in the mountains near Chattanooga, TN, listening to a podcast of old Gunsmoke episodes…because my husband is adorable and has introduced me to such cultural details…and here comes that MK feeling seemingly out of nowhere.  Thankfully time and experience have taught me that the intensity of feelings is temporary and so, rather than fight the chaos of emotions within me, I allowed myself to be quiet and wait.  Stillness is good.

Yes, that MK feeling is so real, and sometimes sad, frustrating, and confusing.  But I would not want it to disappear. I’m thankful for it today because it reminds me of what has been and what may be.  It reminds me of friends across the ocean.  It reminds me of sights, smells, tastes, and sounds I cherish.  It reminds me of dreams yet to be fulfilled.  It reminds me of incredible experiences I’ve been privileged to have.  It reminds me of the few people, my family, who are truly the only witnesses to all my childhood homes.  And it reminds me of the little girl I once was, who grew up between worlds and found a way to love them both, forever.

Once an MK, always an MK.

“I am from the places behind me, and places ahead. I am from the places in between.  I am from the people I’ve met and the things I’ve seen…and the things I’ve yet to see.  I am from this birthplace, that culture, that heart language, my roots are portable, packed gingerly in suitcases and boxes, and grounded in the heart.”

~author unknown~

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