Reflection 23rd November 2014

A place called “home”
In each of us there is a place where we go in the middle of chaos to escape from the fray. It is that “home” place, that hiding place, that soft place where no memories of it come with ragged edges and no thought of it is tinged with fear. It’s an empty beach, perhaps. Or a hidden place on the bluff above town where we remember being able to see everything while no one could see us.

It’s that natural place within us where the roar of the water or the silence of the mountains or the warmth of the desert or the moss of the swamp soothes our souls and makes us feel human again, at one with the universe again, in control again.

Whatever it is, wherever it is, it calms us and makes us new.
For me, ironically, that special place was right in the center of the city.
In the very shadows of the city buildings lay a world beyond the world. It was the public dock on the bay of one of the Great Lakes, where tourists came to fish and sail and ride on a water taxi from the mainland over to the peninsula. Nothing more than a hotdog was ever sold there. There were no bands, no arcade games, no skate-board parks. It was commercially non-commercial. And yet it was my own small planet. There in that place everyone walked more slowly than usual, talked in more measured tones, dared to sit alone on the breakwall in total silence. There you could simply be yourself, no airs, no deadlines, no pressure, nothing false to serve or adore. Nothing that required us to bow down before it. There we just all melted into nature.

In our own day, when technology has trumped nature, we would do well to realize that those “home” places we all need and seek out in a time of the mechanical, the digital, the virtual and the plastic are calling us to the center of our real selves. We must remember that it is the self for which we are seeking when we leave our worlds of glitz and glamour and sink into the real world. It is environment that shapes us and it is the natural to which we must cling when everyone else abandons it; if not, we lose the very soul of our lives.

– from Our Holy Yearnings by Joan Chittister (Twenty-third Publications)

(Reflections are provided each week by a member of the congregation.)

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