“Leaving America is like losing twenty pounds and finding a new girlfriend.” Phil Ochs
This 60's folk singer had different reasons for such a sentiment than I might have. But I must confess that, in my own way, I agree!
Where is your beloved country?
Roots are a powerful thing... the pull of our childhood memories, the love of family... sometimes I miss family so badly that it hurts.
Wausau, WI, where Linda was hospitalized in June, happens to be close to family: my niece and her husband in Wausau; Dad, sister and brother-in-law 40 minutes north in Tomahawk; Mom in an Alzheimer's unit twenty minutes east of them in Rhinelander; a few miles south of Rhinelander lies Lake Julia, where my grandparents had their resort when I was growing up.
Memories so clear and sweet that they hurt; smells so familiar that you are instantly carried back 50 years; memories that make you think that something of the souls of departed loved ones still inhabits the places where you knew them.
Wausau, WI, happens to be the same city where we attended a church in 1972-73. It was less than an hour's drive from our farm west of Merrill. The pastor, Gilbert Nemeth, opened our hearts and minds in so many ways in our first months after committing our lives to Christ.
In spite of my roots and the powerful pull that they still have over me, I started feeling... restrained, closed in, almost claustrophobic... nobody's fault... the attention for Linda at the hospital was superb; the time with family was priceless beyond words.
But, there is a part of me that does not belong to family or to the beautiful State of Wisconsin. It is the part that responds with joy and fullness as I finally step off the plane again in Cancun.
At times, I think I must be insane!
I hate the heat... always have. The first couple of weeks back, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I enjoy the beach about as much as going to the hospital. Give me a cabin in snowy mountain country and a coffee pot. (Well, and a new Kindle, too, so that I can sit and read all day.)
I hated the food... but not anymore. Now I even put hot sauce in my oatmeal.
I didn't love or hate Mexicans. I never got to know one until university.
What started in 1975 as an attempt to be obedient to God's will, evolved into a deep love and gratitude. We are as proud now to be residents of Mexico as some folks are of being American! We love our adopted homeland! We love Mexico! We love the people God has allowed us to have in our lives! Some things are harder, but then, some things are easier, too.
So, enter the folk singer's statement. Why would I feel like that? For starters, because God lets us have a ministry... anywhere would do... but since it is here, we love it here! Somehow, I am not complete without it.
Where is your beloved country? Mine is heaven; mine is the enjoyment of his will for my life. I could never be happier than in the place where God allows me that special measure of usefulness in his kingdom.
I hope that the perfect will of God is at least as real and enriching and sustaining for you as it has been been for me!
"then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”" Isaiah 58:14
(re-posted from 9.21.2010)
Yes...! As of July 5, 2020, my book is now available on Amazon.com.
It's a new book about an old problem: the cross and the crown… the Gospel and politics… do they mix? Should they mix?
If my words generate some reflection and healthy conversation—as in more light and less heat—I will be satisfied.
For feedback or questions, feel free to use the email link below.
Greg grew up in Menomonee Falls, WI. His ministry began in 1976: 5 years in Central America, 37 in Mexico. Church planting and discipleship have been his passion.
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." -Matthew 13:44
GREG'S other BLOG
Concise devotions in Spanish and English, along with some lengthier essays… Designed for personal spiritual growth and to help anyone studying English or Spanish as a second language to improve their skills… Rev 14:6