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My very dear friends,

After her brother Matthew dies and with her eyesight failing, Marilla knows she must sell Green Gables. She laments to Anne, “Oh, I never thought I’d live to see the day when I’d have to sell my home,” and uncharacteristically breaks down, weeping bitterly. (You know that Anne saves Green Gables and Marilla’s heart, but for the moment keep your eyes on Marilla’s expected loss and the ache it brings.)

Marilla’s connection to Green Gables, according to my textbook on Place Attachment Theory, is a bond stronger than nostalgia. It includes her place-based social networks, neighboring, sense of community, place identity, place dependence, and more. Her expected move from Green Gables hurts because it would be a displacement that includes injuries of disconnection, such as loss of security and stability, as well as weakened social bonds.

In our 43 years together, Paula and I have lived at least a year in 17 different homes; besides that, we have camped for more than three months in 12 more. We’ve been on Wayside Drive for eight months now, and our lease ends in March (is 17 is going on 18?). The depth of Marilla’s deep-rooted attachment to Green Gables is something I’ve never known; yet I envy her settledness. Being as old as we are, Paula and I will never have a lifelong home to lose; yet we have tasted the bitterness of serial displacements. I’ve tried in earlier letters to give you a sense of our most recent “injury of disconnection” from our Bratislava family.

But my textbook also notes that “in the face of multiple traumas, deprivations, and withering of trust, a connection to the earlier place—a beloved community—may endure.” One writer says that “attachment to a beloved community may be maintained through community practices, invoking the place-that-was in order to restore the beloved community.” Maybe that’s why I made kapustnica, which we ate on Christmas Eve with fish and potato salad; and why our family feasted on red-and-green-chile enchiladas and tamales on Christmas Day: we’re clinging to our beloved communities in Slovakia and New Mexico.

All of this seems very human. But I didn’t bring it up in order to drag you back yet again into my lament. (Okay, maybe I did. But that’s not my only reason.) As I hinted in my 17-going-on-18 question, we are considering a(nother) move in the first half of 2022. We’ve been praying about that, and we hope you’ll pray with us. And at least one line of our prayers could take its inspiration from place attachment theory. That is, ask God to knit us together with the people of the place where he plants us (whether here on Wayside or on some other wayside), through neighboring, place-based social networks, shared place identity, and all that human stuff. Not just for our sakes, but for the people of the place where we are placed, that we might, together with them, create a beloved community.


On the other hand…

Compare Marilla’s dread and our serial displacements to our heroes and models of faith: Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Jacob lived in tents and desired “a better country, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:13-16). Remember that “here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrew 13:14). Remember that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20), our ultimate locus of place attachment.

And heaven is our ultimate locus of place attachment for one reason: God is there. He is our home. That makes our lives here necessarily nomadic—even if, like Marilla, we live in the same house our whole lives. And our nomadism is purposeful, one way that God makes us grow. Michael Morales even says that our sojourn here “involves a lifelong leaving, a process of sanctification, whereby one steadily dies to the life, religion, and world of exile, and steadily learns to live the new life of restoration to God.” So our 12 campsites and 17-going-on-18 homes teach us, with each injury of disconnection, that we are not yet home. As rattling as each uprooting is, God calls us to a more profound trauma: he calls us to spend our lives leaving behind the world for the sake of knowing God, so that we learn to live and move and have our being in him. For he is our place-that-is-to-come. He is our beloved community.

God himself is our Green Gables.


Thank God with us for our family Christmas gatherings, which included Kristian and Ivica (who, I must humbly add, declared my kapustnica “amazing”). We also hosted Kristofer (son of Ethan and Katie) for his first solo overnight at Grandma’s house. Grandma insists it won’t be his last. Karen’s family got sick just before Christmas and couldn’t join us. They’ve recovered, but would still appreciate your prayers for their weary bodies and disappointed hearts.


In January our Theological Reading Group will dive into a five-month study of Michael Allen’s Sanctification—a book from the deep end of the pool. Please pray for us, asking God to ground our lives in his holiness and our fellowship with him in Christ, in and through whom we are sanctified to God.


Now may the God who is our Home wean you from all unsafe attachments to this world, and free your heart to yearn above all things to see his face.

Kris (for Paula)

PS: Please remember that you and your prayers are very much appreciated by us. We thank God for you.
We're still here We're still here
Perhaps you already know this, but theologians should not be luchadors.

This teaser article on Gregory of Nazianzus is well worth your time. It is apropos of my question last month about the display of knowledge and has applications beyond theology.
Ten Books
that delighted me in 2021
  1. The Railway Children, E. Nesbit
  2. Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers
  3. Mary Poppins Comes Back, P. L. Travers
  4. Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
  5. The Temple, George Herbert
  6. A House for Mr Biswas, V. S. Naipaul
  7. Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, Judith Thurman
  8. Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen
  9. Shadows on the Grass, Isak Dinesen
  10. Last Tales, Isak Dinesen
Copyright © 2021 Kris Lundgaard, All rights reserved.

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