Home is Becoming Complicated
November 21, 2011, 12:18 pm
Filed under: life of Spirit, renewal | Tags:

Home is becoming complicated, abundantly so. When you hear “home,” what comes to mind for you–images, words, smells, memories…? Take a moment, breathe all the way into your shoes and release the breath back into the world, truly listening for what you receive upon the word “home” in your ears. Say it aloud, if it helps get you out of your task-busy mind.


No place like home? All places could be home?

What? What do you hear?

Part of this “way” into which these assignments, readings, postings are all inviting you could arguably be described as living accountably at home, no matter where you are or what your path of service comes to be. What would that be like for you, to no longer know alienation, isolation, loneliness that addicts you? This is not some magic pill that erases suffering, nor is it an easy path of mind-ease and clarity…but I’m continually surprised by the number of Homes it offers. God really is around every corner, even in the painful corners in which we attempt to confine Spirit in paradoxes like theodicy or radical evil. How is that possible? I find myself asking.

Certainly not by our efforts, except for those intentional practices of letting go, of being receptive, moment to moment. Those ways in which we live into the callings we’ve been given AND practice willingness to release our assurances, again and again. Artisanal Theology talks about this as knowing with utter uncertainty before moving into unknowing and resting in God’s complete inaccessibility. I avoid the word “mystery” because i think it can be a cover-up word for anything we don’t want to know about God, but mystery does get at some of this.

Let me make some of this more concrete. I find myself far away from home. I’ve been immersed in conversations and interactions that seem remote from what I know to be lively in sacred practice–contemplative listening, practicing presence, embodied discernment of action and wisdom. My companions here–as they ARE companions of intellectual virtue and more–do not pursue these things, to my knowledge. I’ve not been home for a several days.

Except a 90-minute reunion with a contemplative kindred-spirit. Then another. Then 10 minutes with Juan of stand-up comedy and taxi-cab practice. Then dancing to a central table of Holy Eucharist with fellow Christians and all our saints above us. The Invitation so far from home has been so strongly felt, I startled to find myself a new member of a prayer community, complete with morning prayer book and compilation of “paperless musical” offerings. Far away from home, and I’ve not felt this at Home in a long time, amongst my own.

So home has deepened, broadened, and grown more complicated. Along an artisanal way of Spirit, this home is around every corner, rooted in persons faithful and listening. Those willing to wake up to the immediate moment and know God’s surprise awaits. Sometimes the surprise stings, like when we become aware of a wound or have to stretch our faith over the chasms of doubt. But always the invitation to Home, to that other side of struggle, remains. In dryness and overflow, in doubt and devotion.

Home can get complicated. Blessedly so. Thanks be to God.


3 Comments so far
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Yes, indeed Home can and is complicated at times. I remember my youngest sister asking me “Where is home?” since Mom and Dad moved away. At that time, I told her it’s wherever Mom and Dad are. Today, however Home is wherever we find ourselves with the surprises that life seems to awaken in us. Gathering around the table to play games, to enjoy a meal and to share our inner soul; gathering around to assist when someone has fallen, to be with one who is chronically ill or dying are a few of the places we may/maynot feel at Home. All in all home is where the heart is. Thanks for your reflection on Home Lisa.

Comment by judy niday

I think home is where your heart is. I know find my home in my church and my friends and family. We celebrated yet another Thanksgiving this year. When I was a kid we used to have thanksgiving dinner at the home of my grandparents. After they both passed away, we decided to start eating out for Thanksgiving. Although it is not the same it still feels like home to me when I am surrounded by those I love. Good reflection, Lisa. I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Comment by Michelle Wilkey

What I see in this particular blog is a kind of “grow where you are planted” train of thought. I think that it is healthy to be able to meet others and be in community with others when we are far away from home. In essence, we create another home for ourselves when we give ourselves permission to be fully present with others in their homes and in their communities.

It is not always easy to do- to embrace different spaces and places that are unfamiliar. But I have also learned that this is the best way to grow, encounter, and embrace how others are on this journey.

This Thanksgiving, I found myself incredibly homesick for my parents and siblings…I have been married for twenty years and have three wonderful girls, but I also wanted to be with my sisters, brother, mom and dad. I felt the blessings of being with my own family, but felt a hole in my heart.

This blog helped center me a bit- I am grateful for family: my immediate family, church family, and seminary family. I am surrounded by love and acceptance in all of these places-and they all are HOME in every sense of the word.

Comment by Michelle McDonald

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