Displacement changes things and changes us

| February 26, 2016 | 0 Comments
Historic Schofield Barracks home

Historic Schofield Barracks home

Chaplain (Capt.) C. W. Olson III
2nd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

What do baseball, Homer’s “Odyssey,” the movie “E.T.,” the Exodus, and the “Wizard of Oz” have in common?

They all involve home, leaving home and homecoming.

Some have called this the “epic-narrative” that we encounter in all great literature. Others have described this as the “meta-narrative of faith.”

It’s a story we find almost everywhere we look, if we look deeply enough. It is the story of home, homelessness and homecoming. From America’s fascination with a sport that begins at home and involves a desperate attempt to return home, to the great works of literature and modern cinema. The story of home, homelessness and homecoming is our story.

What if we discovered that, by looking deeply at our own story of homelessness and desire for home, we encounter not only personal hope and healing, but we also discover how to help heal and bring hope to our friends, family and community?

Being in the military, we understand what it means to be without a place, from long stays at hotels on post during a permanent change of station to living out of boxes because the movers are on the way. We understand the feeling of constant displacement and the unsettling feeling of “not yet.” It is something we have felt during a long deployment, knowing that I’m here, but I’m moving soon, not soon enough, or maybe too soon.

We patiently wait and eagerly desire to return home, but when we do, home looks a little different … or maybe we look different at home, or maybe we are different. Displacement changes things and it changes us. It always does.

Leaving home and displacement comes in many different forms, from a physical dislocation to an illness, the loss of a loved one, work stress, financial hardships to relationship problems. The difficult time or life event may change, but the feelings are very similar.

One thing that binds us together as part of a military family is that we intimately understand the feeling of leaving home: the uncertainty, heartache, anxiety and, sometimes, excitement.

We become familiar with the feelings of displacement and placement; we’ve become familiar with the feelings of leaving home and familiar with homemaking and homecomings. We know how to find hope and joy while waiting. We’ve learned how to be resilient and find healing in the “not yet.”

This is huge.

As we look deeply at our own stories, we discover that we’re a unique people, profoundly acquainted with change, uncertainty and displacement. We also discover that we are a unique people, profoundly equipped to bring hope to the hopeless, healing to the broken hearted, a home to the homeless and a place for the displaced.

It is our familiarity with navigating this epic narrative of home, homelessness and homecoming that we are able to help comfort others with the comfort we have received. So, no matter what form the displacement takes (illness, death, relationship, PCS, deployment or work problems), we’re well equipped to help find peace in the moment and hope for tomorrow.

May you come to a realization that your story, with all its joys and sorrows has the power to bring comfort, healing and hope to the world around you.

(Editor’s note: Olson is the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, “Golden Dragons” chaplain.)

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News

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