Have you ever been away from your home or lived abroad for a long time? If yes, I guess, more than once you should have experienced the feeling of homesick and how it looks like. This feeling looks like we can exchange anything just for one second of seeing our house.
House is a metaphor image that many Vietnamese people use to connote such as parents, relatives, friends, even familiar things like banyan trees, the well, the village Church’s bell that rings every day in the afternoon, and many others, etc. House in our culture is very important because it is the very beginning of a person’s life. In other words, a place where we name as “nơi chôn nhau cắt rốn” it can be understood as a place where we are born and will die later”. It is important just like the Israelite people who could not forget their country after more or less than 70 years in exile.
Reflecting on this metaphor image, I recognized that as a missionary, I am called to leave my “house” and live in an unknown country. A fleeting question appears in my mind, maybe it is also yours too. “Do we need to forget what used to be familiar to us? How can we forget our “house” which becomes part of our life?
Personally speaking, it is impossible to remove something that becomes part of us. In my experience, the more I tried to forget, the more I remembered it. “House” is something very special that God grants us. It is our background and our identity. It is a fact that I love my “house”.
This house makes me. I should love it. And I also recognized that the more I love my “house on earth” the more I love my mission and that I want to dedicate myself to my mission and I would like to thank God who calls me to live this life. And only in God, I’ve found a real house where the visible house, as well as my spiritual house, is one. “Where God is, my house is”.
Sch. Joseph Nguyen Van Tho CSSp