Saturday, January 24, 2015

Homecoming

"A Wilderness Place"

The other day, I was asked a most interesting question. Knowing full well that we live out here in the Sonoran Desert of Southern California, an online friend inquired, "So where is your home?" I think he was probably asking me about where I was born and raised, but the truth is that I was really taken back by his question, and I was unable to answer it. 

There are many places I might call home. I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York but we lived in the Syracuse area for many years. Then my wife and I moved to Los Angeles and now we live in the desert of the Coachella Valley.  In some sense I can say that each of these places are "home" for me and in another sense none of them are.  

It seems to me that this is an apt description of the paradox inherent in the lives of each and every one of us - we are always at home and yet always on the journey, both at the same time.

I am reminded of something Buddhist monk and Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, once wrote:

With every step I arrive at my destination.
Home is where your feet are.

Like many of Master Hanh's teachings, these few little lines are full of profound wisdom. 

Some people say that home is where your heart is -  home is that place you cherish most, perhaps the place of your most cherished memories. But the more I think about it, "home" is more about where your feet are rather than where your heart is. We find our home in every step we take - in each and every moment, in whatever place we may happen to find ourselves. Every step we take is a homecoming and then we move on to take the next step and find another home. 

This all leads me to try to be awake in the moment, alert in the present, because this present moment is indeed my destination. And yet, I never own the ground on which I stand, I don't cling to any moment or horde it as if it were my own. Time moves on, I move on - on to that next step. 

I am always at home and yet always on the journey. Such is life.

Episcopal priest and author, Barbara Brown Taylor, makes this observation:

Most of us spend so much time thinking about
where we have been or where we are supposed to go
that we have a hard time recognizing where we actually are.
When someone asks us where we want to be in our lives,
the last thing that occurs to us is to look down at our feet and say:
'Here, I guess, since this is where I am.'

I hope I have a chance today to talk with that friend who asked me where home is for me. I think I may have come up with an answer. I will look down at my feet and say:

"Here, I guess, since this is where I am." 












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