"...I'm dreaming tonight
Of a place that I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know
It's a long road back
I promise you...
I'll be home for Christmas
you can count on me...
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
And I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams..."
I've learned some things about being "Home for Christmas" this year that, I am sure, parents-with-grown-children-out-of-the-country have long know. Being "home for Christmas" has nothing to do with geography. And sometimes the heart must be in many places at once in order to truly be home.
This year my "Home for Christmas" will cross state-lines, continents, oceans, and international time zones. I will be just as much in the Southern hemisphere looking up at the Southern Cross from a South Africa beach at 2 in the afternoon, as I will be sitting in our family room in the Midwest, listening to Christmas carols, and drinking hot chocolate with the snow falling softly outside our front door on Christmas morning.
Home is where the heart is.
And, as Mary Baker Eddy so wisely says it in Science and Health:
"Home is the dearest spot on earth,
and it should be the centre,
though not the boundary,
of the affections."
If home is the centre of my affections...then where my affections are centered is also my home. And as a mother, daughter, wife, sister, friend, and spiritual healer, I find that my affections are centered in many different remote outposts around the world...all at the same time.
This was particularly clear to me while I was in South Africa these past few weeks. I felt as much a part of the workings of my home in the US as I did in the home of my daughter's birthfamily 8 time zones away. I was as engaged in my office there as I am each day from my desk in the Midwest. Within hours of arriving on South African soil, in a town where I only knew my daughter and her birthfamily, I was pulled aside by someone I'd only just met who wondered if an office appointment might be possible the next day. I was fully plugged in immediately, and I found myself waking in time to check emails from patients requesting help, as they came in throughout the night/day, without an alarm, wake-up call or sense of urgency. There was a peaceful rhythm to this global sense of office hours. I never experienced jetlag, a need for timezone adjustments, or weariness. It was as if my heart was setting the internal clock of my nightless days.
One afternoon, I found myself chuckling at the thought that I was sitting on the edge of the Indian Ocean, under a hundred-plus degree Africa sun, with one daughter; while my other inner clock was snuggled under heavy quilts with my eleven-year old twins while a winter wind howled outside their bedroom 10,000 miles away. And instead of feeling distant or scattered, I felt absolutely whole and content.
I am learning that the heart is very flexible and elastic. It is blind to the rising of the moon or the setting of the sun. It is boundary-less - knowing no geography and contained within no form or shape. It is as large as our affections and as centered as our hopes.
Flying home on Monday...and Tuesday (36 hours of uninterrupted travel...planes, airports, waiting areas, delayed flights, midnight re-fueling, rescheduled flights...) I experienced home all along the way. It was Christmas in the air,on the tarmac in Senegal, and in each of the 5 airports where I would quickly set up my "office"...and it was so lovely to have my family, friends, and patients "with me" each mile, kilometer, knot, and acre of land, sea, air, and concourse carpet I traveled.
When I finally reached our doorstep and placed my laptop on my desk I didn't feel any sense of "whew...finally home"....I had been home all along.
For someone who really likes "her own space"....I've just discovered how many of those I really have. And each of them is the dearest spot on earth.