HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

A few weeks back I sat waiting for one of my children to complete a class when a woman I do not know approached me.  She was delightful in mannerism and tone as she explained, a bit hesitantly at first, that she reads this blog and thus knows me.  As her Italian hands and hair waved the air, she recited memories of posts she had read, questions she had held.  I sat watching, wondering, paying detailed attention to all.  It never ceases to amaze me how written words bind people together in silent, lingering ways.  I love that.

She talked of schooling ideas, asked if I would ever design for a living again, how my off-blog writing is going...and then she said what was at the top of her thoughts regarding my life, 
"I bet it was hard to leave your home last month."

At any given moment I am thinking of at least one hundred things, inquiries cycling my mental Rolodex until truth is found.  Questions I have for others, questions I have for myself, questions others have posed for me.  You know, there are a dozen answers about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one.  

Was it hard to leave our home last month?  I needed to wade the waters of my mind.  Yes?  No?  If hard, why so, I asked myself?  Was "hard" momentary or lingering?  Just the physical or the mental?


My answer ultimately was No.  I am sure that is due in part to the multitude of moves I have navigated since being married.    But that wasnt the only reason for my answer being No.  Like the lack of accumulation necessitated by repetitive moves, objectivity is also a characteristic of frequent movers.   I enjoy characteristics about the places we dwell, but do not view the homes themselves as our establishment or a talisman.  But I used to.  What changed?

I used to, unintentionally,  see the safe place for my family to always return, our home, as the source of our stability.  I wouldnt have said that if you asked me, but that was my persuasion.    I lived as though our dwelling place had a soul and the life lived within its walls was our backbone.  Perhaps the world, in its silent intravenous ways, taught me such.  Perhaps it is due to my begin adopted.  Perhaps its because of another fixed circumstance (like eternity being set in the hearts of man).  I do not know.  What I do know is that I lived that way.  What would become of our family without our "home" I used to wonder with every uprooting?  What I have instead experienced is that our family unit provides such transportable meaning and pleasure.  Laughter, depth and tenet are portable!  I had unconsciously viewed "home" as a bulwark against family dysfunction; it had come to stand for convention and stability.  I think it was a half-forgotten tune I was born remembering - that wanting a home so badly - a half truth, like looking through dark glass but one day face to face.  What I wanted was our real Home.


Currently we are staying at my dear friend Ruths house.  She and her sweet family are away for the holidays and generously offered their space to us.    I find everything in her roost to be beautiful because it is such a reflection of her life choices - to be welcoming, engaged, benevolent.  I felt the same way when the girls and I stayed in Taralyns vacated house as we passed through Texas on our return from Camp.  I notice the glint of light across Ruths table in the late afternoon sun gives me the same sense of domestic tranquility as it did when the table was my own.   I notice the air is laden with my daughters high-pitched laughter in the same way here as it was in any of the dwellings we have known.   I notice the pith of Dougs firelight reading and teaching, how it holds the same sum and substance whether on Ruths hearth, a campfire chair beneath the stars or in any of our alternating addresses.

"You know, Ive learned over time that domestic bliss is about a dwellings inhabitants, not about staying in one place,"  I said.   And at that, the doors opened and we both began the physical motions of getting ready to leave with our respective daughters.  She hugged me goodbye and said she would like to chat more another time.  Others entered the conversation with greetings and chit-chat and I smiled and walked away.  I wondered to myself when I had learned what I had just communicated.  I wondered what it takes for a heart to learn such lessons.  And I thanked my God for the dispensation He provides in my journey.

Ive since thought about my favorite feature of the dwelling we just left.  By far it was the trails out back.  Those paths were created to guide me through the dense forest.  They were the park designers way of controlling a visitors experience.  In the same way, my God leads me on the paths He has for me and in that leading teaches me along the way - because He has an idea of what my experience here needs to be.  So many talk of the journey here on earth, but the end of that journey is where Home really is.  "Home" for me will be at the end of my Designers path.    I have not left a Home; I have only learned more about where my true Home really is.