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Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Heart Still Feels

I just finished watching Lion, a movie about Saroo, an Indian young man who returns to India to find his birth mother after being adopted by an Australian couple when he was just a child. While the movie was rather slow-moving, I resonated with two thoughts. One, when he told his girlfriend, I've found home.

The other was that he kept returning to reconnect with his girlfriend, even though he kept pushing her away out of confusion. The story in his heart seemed too painful and too big to share with someone who came from a monocultural worldview but she had a deep desire to try to understand. I know these feelings. When Professor Baer tells Jo, as they sit in the rafters watching an Italian opera, your heart understood mine, the words echo in my heart.

This is what I search for. I'm looking for home not just in a country, where the smells of open market, people carrying you along in the push of the evening, crunching grilled fresh corn on the cob, or crickets accompanying the imam for evening prayers are as familiar as the detergent aisle in Walmart. I'm looking for home in a person. Familiarity. Solidarity. Continuity. Above all--loyalty.

I just finished putting together a 6-minute presentation for a conference in the Netherlands next month. I'll be speaking to professionals and families about how loss impacts TCKs and how as adults we search to reconcile our identities that have been seriously influenced by the continual loss. Saroo lost his language, comfort in eating with his fingers, his older brother, and the connection with his mother and sister. When he began to search for his past, he knew that it had affected who he was today. His identity was incomplete with those missing pieces.

I understand. This is why I look for someone who will take the time to sit and listen. Who will ask me questions about who I am and why I think the way I do. Who will be fascinated by my past and discover ways I view the world that I didn't even realize. And above all, who will look into my heart, see the missing pieces, and reassure me that even though he can never fill those empty places, he will cover them with love and understanding. Those places will always be empty but now I will be able to see them through a covering woven with the tears of someone who sat with me and understood my pain.

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