Saturday, November 23, 2019

"home -- place or power..."

"and the question now is
why would you wait,
and be late for your life..."

Any song by Mary Chapin Carpenter would be the perfect keynote for this post. Today, I am loving her entire catalog. Her lyrics, are some of the most prescient of my lifetime. She gets me. Or perhaps, she gets us. She speaks "woman." Today, I only know that when "Late for Your Life," came up on my MCC playlist I dissolved into a pool of love for her music. Her songs are able to un-loose me from who I think I ought to be -- in any given moment.

So here goes... I have been feeling a bit like a bird without a nest for a while now. I have always been a nesting creature. I search for small spaces, circle and circle, until I collapse into the padded down softness, feather the corners, then burrow in. I've thought, "yes, this is what we do -- mourning doves, sea turtles, arctic foxes. But of late, I have been wondering, "do I have it in me to do it again -- or anymore?"

I have felt tired of the all too familiar feeling of "never forever."  I've carried with me for so long. The next house. Yes, I smile and think of paint colors.  I imagine where the Christmas tree will go, and what flowers will fill the window boxes in this house -- but it's getting old. I'd love to settle in for more than a few winters -- I'd love to feel rooted to a sense of place.

I know that this is not a spiritual perspective that will soothe the hearts of my fellow weary wanderers.  But it was where I often found myself over the past year - or two.

A few months ago, I was invited to speak to the members of an organization that advocates for the residential security of those in need. I wanted to say, "me? really, you want me to speak about home?" I felt like the least likely person to share insights on this subject.  But I have long-learned that these invitations go deeper than human experience, and often they are the first piercing of the veil of what I think I know about a given subject.  Once pierced, there is a new window on what is know in the fathomless place of Soul. So, I said,"yes."

To say that the journey from being a woman who is currently living in her 61st home, to being able to deliver a message about the spiritual nature of "home," was emotionally draining -- is an understatement.

When I was first introduced to the meeting's keynote theme, I almost cried:

“Home is not a place,
but a power..."
It's a familiar statement to those who study the life and writings of Mary Baker Eddy. She is credited with having said this same statement to two of men who worked for her. There have been times when I have found it inspiring, and others where I have found it frustrating and heart-achingly unreachable.

But I know this woman.  And she wasn't just blathering spiritual platitudes.  She spoke from experience.  She, too, had lived in many houses -- so I didn't ever feel like she was speaking from a sense of "oh, just get it together, this is easy."  And she was also a woman who, towards the end of her human career, lived in two wonderful homes that she owned. I have never thought that her insights were "a means to an end." But darn, I have often -- in the past -- just wanted to stop moving and finally have that sense of home security that she found.  I thought if I just understood what she was saying, all feelings of being displaced would stop.

I am quite familiar with the "power" of home. How it operates within us. How it is not something we find, but something we take with us, into every space we enter. As a young woman, I discovered that making a house into a home, was my "gift." And trust me, I have shared that gift with many  apartments, houses, urban flats, cabins -- and their owners. I am a landlord's dream. Too many times I have fixed up a house, only to have the owner decide that this would be the perfect time to sell it.

So, deepening my sense of what Eddy really meant when she said, "Home is not a place, but a power..." felt like plumbing one of my heart's deepest questions.  I knew I was being asked to dig deeper than I'd ever gone with this concept. I wasn't afraid of the task.  I was just worried that this time would be like all the others.  But it wasn't.  It happened only a few days before I was to give the talk. It occurred to me in prayer one morning that I hadn't really taken my own advice when it came to that statement. What was the context? Was there more?

So I did my research, and this is what I found in the reminiscences of Irving Tomlinson from the collection, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy":

“"Home is not a place
but a power.

We find home
when we arrive at
the full understanding of God."

For some reason, reading that second sentence stilled the ache of longing that was bubbling up - like hot tears - from a place so dark and deep, that I hadn't realized it was still there.

I might not be able to lock down a mortgage - but I could deepen my understanding of God. Finally, it was enough.

I've never had house envy. But, I have known home hunger. I've felt displaced -- too many times. Suddenly I knew what to do with that hunger -- be blessed by it.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus promises:

“Blessed are they
which do hunger
and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be filled."
My favorite definition of righteousness is: "to fulfill the demands of a relationship." My hunger is for a deeper relationship with God. This is where I will find home security -- eternally. This is the mansion with many rooms that my Father is inviting me to dwell in. Not visit -- but dwell. It's never too late to love our lives and to find home in our Father's household.

I will leave this here...

offered with Love,


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