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  • Peter Bai

Going back "Home"


I’m on my 13 hour flight to Korea. Every time I go back to the country of my birth, I have mixed feelings. Part of me feels like going to a place where my heart has been longing for so long. But another part of me feels anxious of the strange feelings I will have being in between the place my heart longs for and who I have become away from it. And I wonder how much of each part of me I would have to choose during this trip.

I have a deep longing for what Korea represents in my life. It’s my home country. Where I grew up till I was 12 - the age when boys begin their manhood. It’s where my grandparents have lived all their lives. And, where my father is buried.

This feeling of longing for “home” intensifies when I feel less home in my current home country. It’s been a journey over the 30 plus years I have lived in this new country. Almost 3 times the years I lived in my previous country. But, the less-than-feeling-fully-home feeling does not go away in passing years and I suspect it will never be completely gone in my lifetime.

But the truth is that I don’t feel any more home in Korea either. If my new homeland does not meet the expectation of my mind as a place to see it as home, my motherland does not satisfy the deep longing of my heart either. She has changed and I have changed as well. It’s like an old relationship that simply does not work anymore.

It then begs a question. Where do I find at home? And, how?

This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve asked this question. In my 20’s I was constantly preoccupied with this matter in my life. I had to find an answer. I had to choose one or the other. I needed a home.

But, the answer I found myself back then is still the same today. There is no either/or. But not necessarily both/and either. I can’t choose between Korea and America. Neither is fully my home. At the same, time, I can’t have both Korea and America fully.. It’s just not possible. The best I can do is go back and forth in my mind and heart depending on where I am and who I am with. I have gotten pretty good at it, but after awhile it gets exhausting.

The answer is one that isn’t any easier but what gives my soul a better sense of peace and wholeness. It is to submit myself to the unknown process of creating and being created into a new home of my own. It’s more than in-between or some kind of hybrid of two. It’s a new creation. More than sum of each. It’s hard to know what it would look like because it’s not here yet. It’s not a project to complete. A goal to reach. It’s simple a process where real life of God’s creation happens.

My heart longs for a place I can call home. But, it longs even more for a place where I am with God and creating my deeper home together. My mind wishes for a country that can fully accepts me and tells me that I don’t always need to try so hard. But, it wishes even more for a place which with God I can build and create as my own..

Creative process is not easy. By definition creation is because something is yet to exist. Something is missing. To create, you have to first feel the pain of longing and wishing. But, without creation, there will be no life. And yes, without the pain of longing and wishing, there will be no need for creation.

The longing in my heart for a home where both my heart and mind can fully be satisfied will never go away. The pain is real and I don’t like it. But it’s how God blesses my soul. Where he creates a deeper home for me. And, how I can help create a new home for the strangers like me in this world. For there are many today.


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