We are born hungry. Hunger is the language of our infancy. Even adolescence can be summed up as a period of growing restlessness. But it takes years, a lifetime perhaps, to understand what we truly hunger for. To know the precise dimensions of that which will satisfy us. (Christie Purifoy, Roots & Sky)
In the recent days, for a number of reasons, I’ve been thinking about hunger–holy hunger and how often I confuse this with the temporal, how often I try to satisfy the aching void with tissue-thin dreams, or food, human companionship, and even with noise–the ceaseless chatter of the internet.
I’ve wandered down memory lane, re-shaping the past with my imagination, altering the endings to stories that didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. I’ve tossed old dreams aside while grabbing on to new ones. In weaker moments of misplaced hunger, I’ve swept up the dust of those dreams that had shattered, as if my desire were enough to somehow resurrect what God has laid to rest.
In Roots and Sky, Christie writes, “We are born into exile and must learn to recognize what we are missing.” And I think, yes, this is how I feel in this winter season of dormant dreams. I feel both the sting of loss and the anticipation of hope beginning to bud. What will sustain me? What will satisfy?
Christie and her husband dreamed of their home before they stumbled into it. And it has been both everything they hoped for, and more than they imagined. They bought a magnificent house, and discovered it’s Christ who makes our home. Perhaps this strikes me most poignantly these days, as we attempt to find our own dream of a home. We have our lists and spreadsheets of criteria, but there’s always room between the spaces of the grid for the Spirit of God to change the plan. In my own hunger for a different home, my heart hears the echo of Christie’s words.
We must learn to walk with God on the ground of our own lives, how to meet with him in our kitchens and neighborhood sidewalks and backyards…Our hunger is the exiles’ hunger, but it is also the first step in homecoming. We hunger and in doing so learn the shape of our emptiness and the world’s great emptiness in order to prepare room for God’s presence. Roots & Sky
Where do I meet God? Where do I find Him in my hunger and hoping, in my exile, and in my dreams and actual neighborhood? The pages of this book feed me as I consider the answer. My mind, stirred up by the images painted of life at Maplehurst: I can see myself in the garden by the roses, and feel the 100-year grooves worn into the back staircase as I climb higher, hoping to meet with God. This is not what my home looks like, but the search for what would satisfy unifies us in spirit.
Learning the shape of my own emptiness is an important step towards finding what fills. I hadn’t wanted it to be this way. But God is more than a mist. More than a fog that settles briefly before vanishing into oblivion. His presence is found in both the dreams I have released and the ones I have held on to. His presence remains, even in the memory of the dreams that crumbled and blew away. Even in the absence of their fulfillment, His blessing is evident. He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Both in hunger and satiation, I find the Spirit present.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an urgent prayer request from Christie on behalf of her then-missing brother in law, Shawn Campbell. Shawn along with eleven other Marines disappeared when their two helicopters crashed during a night time training exercise off the coast of Hawaii. After a full week of intensive efforts to locate any potential survivors and coming up empty handed, the Coast Guard arrested their search.
As I’ve grieved with my friend, I’ve found a deep, unexpected comfort in Christie’s book. I marvel at the way God is using this book on finding home to minister to the hollow places of holy-hunger that crop up in the wake of loss. I’ve wondered if something more hasn’t been disturbed by the words I’ve been reading here in these pages. My eyes are too quick to leak these days. I’ve wandered through a deep, unexpected grief for the Campbell family, and for Christie, my friend. All I know to do is to keep holding my hands out to God, to wait for Him to name this unexpected season. I believe He is present still. Most especially, perhaps when the thick black clouds roll in and roll over us.
When we begin from a place of belief, no matter how small or insubstantial, we can see what was always there, hidden in plain sight. Roots & Sky.
Christie’s book has been a needed glimpse of grace. It’s a feast really, a tender offering that brings Christ to the center of all our longing and dreams, both those fulfilled and those laid to rest. These words speak to the truth of what home is, and where we ultimately find our sanctuary.
This isn’t an old, dying world. This is a world in the process of being made new. This is the truth that has been hiding in plain sight. Roots & Sky.
We have two copies of Christie’s book, Roots & Sky, A Journey Home in Four Seasons, to give away. Leave a comment to be entered into our drawing. Winners will be chosen at random. If you share this post, leave another comment for additional entries.
*U.S. residents only, our sincerest apologies to our international friends.
*All images used with permission from Christie’s beautiful Instagram feed.