Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stranger in a Strange Land

7 years ago, our family had just moved south from New England. A kind-hearted woman brought over a casserole. She was "on her way to the game", and wanted to drop it by before she headed out of town.

"What game?" I asked, honestly curious.

Incredulous stare. Disbelief.

I didn't get it, clearly. And in some respects, I still don't.

It's football season here in Alabama. The time of year when people's lives revolve around The Game. Friday night high school games and Saturday college games, there are parties, tailgating, Homecoming dances, bands, parades, cheerleaders, pep rallies, and who-knows-what-all.

Look. I was drum major of my high school marching band (and marched WITH a broken heel, thankyouverymuch). I understand how the game is played. It's fun. It can be exciting. I get that. But what I don't get - and may never get - is how the game of football becomes part of the warp and woof of a life, how you schedule an entire season around what 2 teams do to a little brown pigskin.

During the fall, I feel most alone. Not depressingly so, but keenly aware that 95% of the culture shares something that I simply don't understand. I'll go to the local homecoming game to watch our friends' sons play, and watch and cheer. But all the while, deep inside, I feel like I'm pretending. It's hard to explain, but I always leave football games pretty melancholy.

And - mostly - I'm ok with that.  Soon enough, the world will right itself again. I'll rejoin the conversation, rejoin the social scene, and find myself more in step with those around me.

For now, I just need to be content with my lot. Those of you who are native to the South most likely don't get why this even warrants a blog post. Those of you from the North can't imagine that there even exists a culture so permeated by 4 quarters of offense and defense that they put rally flags out their windows and tiger tails on their cars. (I'm NOT making this up, northern friends. Really.)

But maybe -just maybe - there is someone reading who can relate.

And maybe- just maybe - my friends who are believers in Jesus can relate to this feeling in a whole different way. Being a part of the world, but not really of it any longer, we long for Jesus, we long for heaven, we long for a world made right and new and whole.

Where everyone is united in worship of that which is Right and True and Good. . . .  . .

. . . . . and it's not football. 

It's Jesus. 

And the longing in my heart to belong, to truly feel at home, reminds me
that I was meant for more than this world.

So when the melancholy starts, when the loneliness sets in, it is my prayer that God would use it to turn my heart more towards Him, and to set my mind on things above. Anyone want to join me?

This world is not my home I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore


Elizabeth said...

I really appreciated this post, Mrs. Henriques! I can definitely relate, even though I have gotten more into the games here at Auburn recently :) Good to remember where our focus needs to be. I wrote a post on this same subject a little while ago. Here's the link if you're interested :)

Melissa said...

Oh, but I DO understand!! In more ways that you know. My desire to be "home" here on Earth, always reminds me that what I seek won't ever be found until we're all with Jesus in our True Home. Someday, my friend, we'll be there together!