“Can we take these home?” our three-year old daughter Hannah asks me.
“Sure bubs. We are home.”
“No. Home to Keennnnnnnya!”
Hannah’s Kenyan home
It both warms and crushes my heart to hear Hannah ask this. She has asked us this about various objects almost every day since we arrived in Kentucky the end of January.
This time her query was in relation to a pile of stickers she had peeled off our recently purchased apples. I’m pretty sure she thinks these stickers are free promotional gifts to get us to buy the produce in America.
“Um, I think we’ll probably leave these in Kentucky.”
“Why?” [Oh, how many times a day this word issues forth from our toddler!]
“You can’t take it with you.”
Hannah nods and moves on to the next thing–watching the “rats” run along our back-yard branches (Hannah: “The rats in Kentucky have really bushy tails!”).
But I’m still back with the produce stickers.
In the last month, as we’ve packed up our household in Kenya and unpacked our household in Kentucky, Clark and I have had this thought many times: “You can’t take it with you.”
The extra-large bag of peanut butter M&Ms (worth their weight in gold among our missionary community at Tenwek) and the hundreds of books (representing countless hours spent pouring over the shelves of library and used-book sales) are suddenly worthless when you’re boarding a plane to the land-of-many-Krogers. Or when you realize that each book you don’t get rid of is 15 oz you will have to move in and out of someone’s basement and that will never be unpacked long enough to be read.
This transition has forced us to value many of our material belongings the way, I think, God values them.
Either because they are not usable even now.
Or because we’re headed somewhere flourishing with such quality and abundance that it would be silly to lug along our old, beat-up whatever-it-may-be.
As we settle into our home-for-now here in Kentucky and anticipate our return to Kenya in August; as Hannah’s produce stickers get thrown out; as the Lexington Public Library’s collection grows substantially thanks to our contributions…
We are grateful for this assurance: we are headed to that “somewhere.”
“For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”
1 Tim 6:7
*written by Val Sleeth