There and Back Again – an MK tale

My love for Lord of the Rings is pretty obvious. The themes of relational loyalty, desires for peaceful living, and emphasis on making brave decisions in the midst of difficult times are near and dear to my heart….plus any story that promotes having more than one breakfast is my kind of series.

In the precursor to the series, The Hobbit, the main character, Bilbo Baggins, goes on an adventure. Leaving his comfortable homeland, he finds himself going out into the world to fight dragons, befriending elves, and being thrown into all kinds of unforeseen situations.

Sound familiar?

While I may have never fought a dragon or been swept away by a magical wizard, I find many similarities between Bilbo and the MK experience.

  • Leaving something familiar…check
  • Delving into the unknown….check.
  • Not knowing where I fit in after experiencing a big adventure…double check.

There and back again.

While I may have never fought a dragon or been swept away by a magical wizard, I find many similarities between Bilbo and the MK experience.

For so many MKs, there is a love of adventure embedded into our DNA. A thrill of the chase. A knowledge that whatever the current adventure entails, it will never happen again. Not like this. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience with those particular people in those places that will bind the “party,” so to speak, in ways that only adventures can. It is an incredible opportunity with a spiritually intense backing. To go “there” can heighten all one’s feelings, bringing them to the lowest cavern and the highest mountain (sometimes quite literally!).

However wild and unknown the MK experience may be for someone, it is their story. Only they can explain (or try to explain) the heroing tales that have occurred in their lives. It is what can make an MK an amazing storyteller (whether storytelling is their actual gifting or not.) After all, simply hearing the most mundane tasks accomplished in a different setting can be fascinating. 

There and back again.

However, just because someone has been on an adventure does not necessarily mean they enjoy adventuring. Just as Bilbo did not put “Leaving The Shire” on his bucket list, MKs may or may not have wanted to experience their family’s particular adventure. After all, MK travels can take them to some very difficult locations. Knowing what is out there in the world, or at least a small sliver, means their worldviews can shift. They cannot unsee or “unknow” their experiences. One must learn to live with that knowledge. What is now transforming knowledge for you may or may not be pressing to others. If only they could see, know,… understand. But they cannot. Not really. You cannot take everyone you ever meet back in time and space to understand your point of view. This can make many MKs feel different and/or misunderstood. 

There and back again. 

Being different can be lonely. While some MKs share their differences with pride, others may choose to be quite selective with who hears their tales of adventure. However, the beauty of ever-developing technology and the constant flow of new materials being written about the TCK community is that MKs should not feel required to carry the highs and lows of their background alone.

At the end of the Lord of the Rings series, Tolkien circles back to Bilbo, the beloved character focused on in the prequel. After all of his adventuring, tale-telling, and songwriting, he leaves The Shire to go with a select group of people to live out the rest of his days in the Undying Land. He is surrounded by other people who do not necessarily have the same experiences as him but share similar weights of what they have seen and experienced. They know that their experiences have come at a cost.

Sometimes, finding peace and juggling all the realities of one’s MK journey can be difficult. However, may we open our hearts to good communities, intentionally partner ourselves with people who share our values, and remember the faith that made so many of our families move overseas in the first place. May we accept the concept of going There and Back Again, …and may we always be open to having more than one breakfast along the way. 

Hannah Clark Maynard has lived in seven states and three countries (including two in East Asia). Using her experience as a TCK, she now trains, debriefs, and works with teenage TCKs professionally in Virginia, USA.

Locked Away Stories

Locked Away Stories

Trauma can be, unfortunately, part of growing up as a TCK

“it’s not a crazy plan, i promise”

“it’s not a crazy plan, i promise”

This is possibly a promise that many ATCKs have had to make to friends or

You May Also Like