My family is going through a major home renovation. We’re redoing both bathrooms and our entire kitchen. It’s left our house a shell, with nothing inside that makes it either a home or a functional living space. Since we have a 4-year-old who I could barely keep out of the Christmas tree this past year, we thought it best not to attempt to keep him out of a construction zone; also… like I said, no bathrooms.
Thankfully we have family in the area and a place to stay while our house is in disarray, saving us from two months of double housing costs. We have a bed to sleep on and a kitchen to cook in. We have bathrooms to use, access to clean water, and all of the worldly conveniences of home, it’s just not my home.
It’s the extended feeling of staying somewhere else. Everything feels foreign. I don’t know where anything is. The pans aren’t the non-stick kind that I prefer and I’m not accustomed to the stove’s temperature settings. The water pressure in the shower is lower than I’m used to. The recycling schedule is different, making it hard for me to remember. I also have a daily commute, which leaves me in city traffic for much more of my day than before. I greatly underestimated how stressful this change and transition would be. While sharing these grievances with a friend, she offered empathy and said, “It’s hard to be displaced.”
I realized that the word did, in fact, apply to me, in accordance with the definition, but the only time I’ve ever used it before was when referencing the global refugee crisis.
I felt silly and ashamed for occupying that word when my situation was so different, so much less difficult. But, it brought a new level of compassion to my heart. Being displaced is hard. It’s mentally unsettling and hard to maintain your life in the unknown. Existing in the temporary is something we’re feeling, but I immediately considered those who were displaced without the promise of a solution in the coming months. I have a date on the calendar that’s circled. We know when we get to go back.
Also, we’re going back to an updated kitchen, not a demolished home, ravaged by violence. I imagined the families who flee from their homes. I’m sure they felt the same as we have, but on a level I won’t ever be able to understand and likely won’t ever experience. We certainly weren’t scared for our lives or forced out. We came to this decision voluntarily.
As we celebrate the founding anniversary of Food for the Hungry (FH), I’m reminded of how and why this organization was started.
Our founder, Dr. Larry Ward, started FH because he saw a profound need among the world’s most vulnerable. One of the first things he did was purchase a boat to help Vietnamese refugees to safety adrift the South China Sea. Read more about FH history here. Dr. Ward knew that displaced people are the most vulnerable populations. He carved out space for them and reminded them that even without a place to call home, they’re loved and seen.
I’m honored that we continue that legacy that Dr. Ward began. I’m honored that our work still invests in refugees and displaced people all over the world. Our work in Northern Uganda and Syria speak directly into our founder’s heart. But, one of the biggest refugee populations we’re responding too right now is in Bangladesh. The Rohingya people are being driven from their homeland in Myanmar and more than 700,000 have crossed the border into Bangladesh, fleeing violence that I will likely never know. Please consider a gift to help support FH efforts to serve the Rohingya people who truly embody the sentiment of the word displaced.
Today I’m reflecting on those in Bangladesh and worldwide who fled their homes. I’m praying for their safety, but now I’m also praying for them to be met with welcome arms, a sense of belonging, stability, and good friendships because I know what those things can mean when you’re not at home.
You can read more about the founding of FH and Dr. Larry Ward in the book, One At A Time.
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Featured Photo Credit: Medical Teams International