Sometimes it’s important to go back to where the story begins.
The call to prayer awoke us at the first light of dawn in the village where my family made our home. It was hauntingly melodic and it was loud! It was not yet summer but the heat of Sindh, a southern province in Pakistan was felt even in those early morning hours. To keep cool my parents had us sleep on rope beds called charpais set on the flat roof. There we would rest, shrouded with mosquito netting, our gauzy weapons against the insects known to bring about raging fevers from malaria.
I was 4 years old and this is my earliest memory. A faded black and white photograph confirms this memory as I, smiling beneath the white netting look at the camera while my older brother Tommy, positioned on his bed beside mine, looks at me. With the growing light and sounds from the mosque down the street we would try and keep quiet as long as we could but it was a losing battle for any parent. Maternal pleas of “try and get more sleep kids” were met with muffled voices and eyes wide with the wonder of morning until finally my mother would give in and allow us to fully wake, contributing our sounds to the roosters, birds and Muezzin calling the faithful to prayer.
In the hall of an old Inn by the ocean is a sign that reads “Home is Where Our Story Begins”. For a third culture kid who questions the definition of home, this is both reassuring and sad. If home is where our story begins, what happens when we can’t go back?
Key to the quote is the word ‘story’, for one thing third culture kids have are stories. Detailed stories of travel between worlds, forging cross cultural relationships and connections; grief and loss and more loss; goodbyes and hello’s and more goodbyes.
There are many examples in the book of Exodus where God tells the people of Israel to remember their story, their beginning; to remember who they were. They couldn’t go back to Egypt, but they were to remember the stories – stories of wonder and deliverance; of the power of God and provision. They were to remember the beginning.
There are times when it’s important to go back to the beginning.
And so I started this post by going back to the beginning. Back to those first memories that I am never quite certain of – was it a memory because I saw a picture and heard a story, or was it a real memory? I don’t know. All I know is this is where my story begins. Home.
Where did your story begin? No matter who or where, your story began somewhere. I invite you to take us into your beginning in the comment section. Take us home to where your story began.