Friday, July 1, 2016

Not Quite the Final Destination

What a strange thing to wake up thinking you’re in another place.  How travel can, with time, engrain in you a sense of home, a permanence about space that stays in your mind, becomes a part of your senses in such a way that even if the place is not your final destination, it feels like it is, or was.  Having two homes to me means this: to feel a pull like tide between these two places.  I come to my Georgia-home-I’ve-created and, especially at night when I dream, suddenly think I hear my father rummaging downstairs, or my mother turning open the blinds, and if I’m really straining, smell that brine from the sea on the breeze. My senses are really into it this year, drawing me into a deeper contemplation about the reality of home as much as its feeling.  There’s meaning to it—  something so life-defining it’s difficult to overlook or ignore—and it causes in me a desire to meditate on how home-space, in its flexibility as I get older and modernity digs deeper, is central to my soul-survival.

I’ve bucked this before—there should only be one true home, right?—but the more I travel back and forth to the place I was born and then to the place I have birthed, the more I see the beauty of a shared set of memories, which draw from within a kind of contemplative, mystical seeing of everyday faith, everyday living, the truly ordinary becoming extraordinary.  My interactions with those inside this home-space shift and change even though on surface they *seem* the same.  They seem to have been the same for years, but they’re not—don’t be fooled. Relationship is constant flux, and there’s a good reason for that: we’re in constant, small changes, daily, and we have to pay attention to this and allow that feeling to overcome us but somehow control ourselves in it, like sustaining yourself in choppy waves to keep from drowning. We should surround ourselves with lifeguards and not dunking bullies, and aim to think buoyantly, if only soberly. Joy and sorrow can meet on the way.

It’s coming up on a year since I lost the single most important guide in this endeavor—Fr. Tom woke up in another place, another space, and I wonder what he must have felt then, and feels now.  He’s in another home, another space that, for all we know, feels like this one we’re in. For those of us who have suffered loss in recent times perhaps this thought remains heartening: that there is a final destination, but that it’s all around us, too.  That we can feel their beating hearts in our lives, hear their voices calling to us to do right and well, to be not afraid, but to know it’s all interconnected, a living, breathing thing, this life we’re given.