It’s a chilly but bright day and I find myself back in Pernik. Generally, when you say to a Bulgarian that you live here, their immediate and constant retort is, “Why Pernik?”. To be fair, it is never going to win Bulgaria in Bloom, or indeed could ever be described as attractive!
The saying goes, home is where the heart is, but what does that mean in our increasingly international world? I live in Plymouth UK, my office is in Copenhagen DK, I travel constantly for work (so far have been through airport security fifteen times, and I have walked the streets of eight countries in 2016), and I spend as much time here in Pernik BG as in Plymouth.
In 1983 Paul Young, like Marvin Gaye before him, sang “Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”. Whilst the rest of the song’s theme of love lost may not be relevant, this core line I can certainly relate to. Home has to be where I am now at any given time: Plymouth, Pernik, or living from a suitcase in a hotel. The only constant, the rock of stability, has to be for me at least the knowledge that wherever I am two truths remain: My wife waits for me, and my Saviour is beside me.
John Donne wrote of riding westward on Good Friday in 1613, whilst longing to look east: ‘Hence is’t, that I am carryed towards the West/This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.’
So, as said, I am in Bulgaria, an Orthodox country where Good Friday is not to be observed for another four weeks, and today is just another working day. The people are going about their usual business, and there is not a parking space anywhere. Home is where I lay my hat, but today my heart looks towards Calvary in the knowledge that only by His death could we ever see the glory of His resurrection, and the promise of eternal life.