You Can Take the Boy Out of Indiana, But…

Our arrival home last Christmas.

It’s really hard to believe. As I write this, I am 19 days away from having lived half my life away from Indiana. For a Hoosier boy, that’s a long time to go without a decent plate of biscuits and gravy.

(A hint for my non-Hoosier friends: tap water is not an ingredient in true gravy. And, by the by, sausage is so integral to this dish that you shouldn’t have to mention it in the name. The presence of sausage – which should not be so tiny as to be indistinguishable from flecks of black pepper – should be safely assumed.)

Hoosier Caviar – Photo by jeffreyw, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

All these years and I still cannot surrender my birth title as a Hoosier. Don’t misunderstand me. Minnesota is a beautiful place to live. But, usually on the eighth or ninth straight sub-zero day in January, I find myself asking, “Why do I live here? What is wrong with me?” (However, when you visit back home in the summer and walk outdoors at 7am only to have sweat plaster your hair to the back of your neck faster than you can say “ick!”, the balance of life becomes obvious.)

God brought us to Minnesota via suburban Chicago for a reason. Perhaps not the reason I thought, but something far better. There are times I feel like an Israelite, wandering the desert whining about the manna. Times I remember the leeks, the melons, the cucumbers, the biscuits and gravy, and I feel the painful twinge to go back home. I miss my family. I miss all my overly-romanticized ideals about being a Hoosier.

Then I remember how God has blessed us for saying “yes” to Him. I see His hand on our lives every step of the journey. I love all the wonderful people the LORD has brought into our lives, our “Minnesota family” if you will. I marvel at the blessings He provides us with – to sustain us, to protect us, to grow us. He has softened my heart to this frigid place where people drive on lakes in winter (which still freaks me out a little).

Most of all, I look at my son Austin. I truly believe our greatest blessing on this earth would have never happened had we not moved to the land of 11,842 lakes (defined as a body of water covering at least 10 acres – so this number leaves out a lot of ponds and bogs!).

Wisconsin claims 15,000 lakes. But I think they’re just jealous.

I have come to realize that, no matter where I live, I am who I am not merely because of where I’m from. I am who Jesus Christ says I am. In Him lies my identity. And while I miss the ol’ folks back home, it’s no good pining for the good things and forgetting the bad. The Israelites remembered the leeks but forgot the reason they left. They forgot what God freed them from. They couldn’t see a better promised land.

I love my family and they love me. That’s the same whether we live six or 600 miles apart. Love is love, no matter the distance. Love wherever you are, because you are where God intends you to be – wthere it’s my Hoosier homeland or America’s southernmost Canadian province).

Love those around you. Love God and show His love to those in your life.

I’ve learned to live without the leeks and melons. But, boy, what I would give for a plate of biscuits with gravy that didn’t come out of a tap.

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