Almost There: Searching For Home In A Life On The Move, by Bekah DiFelice
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Tyndale Blog Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This is a book that seems tailor-made for an audience of military wives, who struggle to find a sense of home in the face of the itinerant nature of a life where one’s residence is dependent on orders that may appear suddenly without any warning, disrupting lives and forcing one into unfamiliar locations among strangers. This is a book that combines memoir elements with a self-effacing sense of humor along with encouragement for others in the same position. As someone whose life has been somewhat unstable, not often by my own choice, who has reflected on being an outsider and a stranger often , and even as someone who has struggled my entire life with PTSD, this book hit close to home in a lot of ways. The author’s discussion of the fear and anxiety that accompany life around soldiers and veterans reminded me the repercussions of mental health problems in larger society. Despite the fact that I am not the target audience of this book, I found it to be a very worthwhile one.
This short volume of under 200 pages is divided into various chapters that are mostly chronological and topical in nature, with some flashbacks. The chapters examine the locations the author lived, with Gila and San Diego receiving special notice, while other chapters look at the way in which people try to establish habits through running or writing, how people develop a sense of comfort and familiarity, what it means for people to check out before they move, and how people become strangers even within the same homes and same rooms, disconnected from each other’s lives. The author spends a great deal of time making self-effacing references to her skill at putting together furniture, or her feelings about being out of place, and also makes some sound discussions about the way that people are not always present in the moment or fully aware of the motivations behind why people do what they do. Overall the author can be said to be modest as well as encouraging, and this book will likely appeal to military wives and other women whose husbands’ professions lead them to live somewhat transient lives out of their control despite their own wishes and inclinations.
Ultimately I found this book to be a pleasant enough read, enough to recommend it to those who are wrestling with the feeling of rootlessness in their lives, but there was one aspect of the book in particular which left me somewhat puzzled. Given the extent to which the Bible speaks of refugees and exile and vagabondage, it is a bit surprising that the author does not have a great deal of scriptural information to provide as encouragement concerning our patient wait for home in the Kingdom of Heaven. Indeed, I expected this book to place the search for home in a scriptural perspective and was surprised, and at least a bit disappointed, that the author showed little scriptural insight into those passage which describe our time here as a sojourn and our true home belonging with God, in the Jerusalem above. Perhaps the author did not wish to sound too preachy by discussing the Bible, but all the same this book presents a bit of a missed opportunity to place the itinerant nature of our lives in a larger context of believers who were similarly wanderers on the face of the earth of whom the world is not worthy, and I have to wonder whether it was a lack of interest or a lack of biblical knowledge that led the author to refrain from speaking about many relevant biblical passages concerning her struggles and that of so many others in this regard.
 See, for example: