04
Mar
22

Who… not WHERE

Where matters. I think we can all agree on that, can’t we?

But HOW MUCH does it – or should it – matter? That question might provoke some lively banter among us.

By WHERE, of course, I am talking about the place you call HOME. The place where you enter, breathe a sigh of relief, relax, kick off your shoes, and whisper, “Made it!” as you hang your keys on the hook.

Growing up, I believed nothing was more important than WHERE. My hometown (Hilliard, Ohio, incidentally. Go Wildcats!) was where my roots grew. It was where my identity was shaped. It was the place my friends and family – most of them, at least – lived. It was the place I knew like the back of my hand. It was unthinkable that I might go anyplace else and live. 

Unthinkable, that is, until the summer of 1969 when my father announced he had taken a pastoral appointment in Lynnwood, Washington… a suburb of Seattle. And since my siblings and I were too young to break away and forge out on our own, it meant we were moving too.

Did I mention this was the summer between my junior and senior years of high school?

I cried. I cursed. I rebelled. I hatched plans to secede. 

Ultimately, however, I moved with the family.

And since finally making that “impossible” adjustment to a new WHERE, I find I have changed my thinking significantly on the topic.

WHERE, I decided, can be anywhere. Sure, there are some places that have a warmer climate, a lower property tax rate, a more compatible political bent, a better economy, or more tourist attractions nearby. 

In the end, though, aren’t I the same ME in each of those WHEREs?

 I guess what I’m asking is, does my WHERE really have any effect on my WHO?

After 45+ years living in the Kansas City metro area, Joan and I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado. We have been here a little over two years, but honestly, I am still struggling to acclimate. I mean, yes, it is a beautiful place. There are stunning mountains less than an hour away. There are great parks and lakes and restaurants right here in town. It is a progressive (mostly) political climate. Yes, the real estate is MUCH more expensive than KC’s, but we were lucky enough to buy before it went stark raving bonkers. 

And yet, for all the amazing pluses of this place, I still have a hard time calling it HOME. 

I am going to stop my little pity party for a minute and turn the question toward YOU. What do you think about this whole question? How much does WHERE matter to you? How much influence does WHERE exert on your life?

If you are like a lot of people, WHERE matters a LOT! Perhaps even ultimately.

And so, as you consider your response to those questions, pause for a moment. Imagine that, for you, nothing matters more than WHERE. Now… think about the people of Ukraine. At least one million of them – by the most recent count – have packed up and left their beloved WHERE behind. Most leaving with nothing more than the few clothes that might fit into a backpack or small suitcase. Most leaving with ZERO guarantee that their WHERE will even be there when they can finally return.

And for many of those Ukrainian people, WHERE matters more than anything.

How well would you deal with that situation?

My brain doesn’t work well enough to process that question. 

Nor can I even come close to imagining the experience of seeing my WHERE bombed into a pile of rubble by people I thought I knew. 

At such an unnerving, heartbreaking time like this, we are all called to stop and remember that none of us are defined by our WHEREs. We are instead defined by our WHOs. As in, WHO you were created by… WHO you belong to… and WHO holds your right hand in times of trial.

When their future was dark, uncertain, and bleak, God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet Isaiah and reminded them: “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13, NRSV).

Please pray for Ukraine. Please click here to donate to UNICEF and help the children of Ukraine. They are the ones paying the heaviest cost of this brutal, evil, senseless war. 

Hug your own loved ones tight and thank God for your WHERE…

… wherever it might be.

Abundant blessings;


2 Responses to “Who… not WHERE”


  1. March 4, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    When I got married and instantly went from a single college sophomore, living in a dorm at a small, private, Southern, all-women’s college – to a married woman, living in a house and going to a large, Midwestern university, it was an adventure. In fact, every time we’ve moved, it was a new adventure, and I knew the Lord would be with me wherever I was and bless me with friends – and He has! Not saying my attitude was always the greatest (It wasn’t.), but deep down I knew I’d be OK.
    P.S. I’m glad your WHERE was Sanibel Island the other day. It was such fun meeting you and Joan and getting to know you a little better. 🙂


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