Tenerife is a Spanish island with sun, great ocean water, some natural resources, unusual scenery, and an amazing mix of people. One of the more peculiar items of note is the ethnic mix of the people who work here. Usually one finds immigrant populations filling the various trade jobs. In the small village in Tenerife where we stayed the immigrant population was British! The maids were from northern England. The handyman was clearly English. The apartment manager was from the United Kingdom. Everywhere I looked they were in stark contrast to the island natives.
The service experience here was positive at all levels. Even when the communication barriers came up people reached across with a helping hand. There didn’t appear to be anything that would drive a person to hire an Englishman or woman instead of another culture. Yet something is different. I never got the feeling that I was with someone who “belonged”.
The sense came through small parts of our conversations. Take the observations in our conversations about telephones for example; just five years ago it was extremely difficult for anyone not holding a Spanish passport to get a phone line. While things have improved there was a clear sense of “them” and “us”. Even those who had been here over a decade talked with a longing for things similar to where they had come from, minus the rain, wind, and cold of course!
As one wondered through the streets Wisdom’s words seemed to fit the scene. “People who won’t settle down, wandering hither and yon, are like restless birds, flitting to and fro.” (Proverbs 27.8) Once you began to reflect it was as if you could hear it nestled in the sounds of the karaoke that drifting up the hillside at night. People longing to be part of something they were not.
The fact is that you and I do not belong in this world as it is. We were created for something better and I think our souls thirst for this far more than we realize. God offers to bring us home.