After having visited that abandoned home on Tuesday and blogging about it yesterday morning, I decided to take my husband to it, thinking it might spark some interesting conversations. Yesterday was one of those typical northwest days, showers alternating with brief bursts of sunshine, so we were lucky to get in and out of the property before the heavens opened up and began to pour.
He definitely understood the appeal of the place, and our discussions revealed some important thoughts for each of us, around what retirement might look like (for him it definitely does NOT include a dog!) and what an ideal home might be; about our feelings for the home we have, about how much we both miss New England (though not the bugs and snow)... It was all good.
And then I came home to find two wonderful notes from my blogger buddy, Maureen, inviting me to breathe into the longing and pointing out that we are already living our best life (so true) and, later, another note from my friend Karen, who knew the property and why it had fallen into disrepair. Standing in our living room, sharing these observations with my husband, I thought what it would be like to stand in that OTHER living room, and realized, yes, this place is perfect for us now, and though I miss having trees and grass (we have no yard or trees, just dune grass) I would miss our views and neighbors more if we were to leave. The fact is, that rush of emotion I felt looking at the other house was a curious mix of my childhood restlessness cropping up, memories of fall in New England -- and yet another manifestation of spiritual longing.
So it was amusing, this morning, as I was preparing to lead a retreat whose subject is largely about finding ways to return to our spiritual home, to read in Elizabeth Lesser's book, The Seeker's Guide, this quote about that longing for home:
"To long for peace, or God, or spirituality is quite natural. To feel a certain loneliness for a nameless friend or an emptiness that cannot be filled with the ways of the world is instinctive. Especially today, with the accelerated pace of human activity and technology, we may feel a deep spiritual hunger. Yet many of us don't know what to do when a longing for spirituality settles briefly in our hearts. we may not even know what it is. With the first pangs of hunger we rush to fill the empty space with something, anything, rather than float quietly on our backs in the mysterious waters where our souls live...
"We could say that the history of human suffering is our inability to come to terms with spiritual hunger. Like one big cosmic joke, humans were born yearning for a home of tranquil abiding, yet without the map to get there...Thus a critical step on the spiritual path, and one that we will take over and over, is to let ourselves experience spiritual hunger long enough and deep enough to follow it to its source. Unless we do that, we will never get the chance to taste the true nourishment that is indeed available, closer to us than we think."
Sometimes I think I should just rename this blog SYNCHRONICITY: so much of what happens here seems to be about the way the pieces of my life and other lives around me have such curious ways of overlapping and connecting.
But, yes, there were messages -- in the odd force that led me to drive down that particular road; in the emotional response to the house, the shed, the grass and the trees; in the process of preparing for this retreat; in the reading I'm doing now that my spirituality class has started up again. And they're not just about me; they're all about that wonderful way the Divine has of calling us home.
Which makes me think again of the passage the Rev. Cathy George quoted from Bishop John Coburn when she spoke at his memorial service:
“Everything you have ever experienced” John writes “has been God trying to communicate with you. God is doing everything possible to bridge what separates you from him. God will stop at nothing that is not contrary to God’s nature, not even the death of his son, so that you and he may come together and converse with each other, saying I and You that you may know God as your lover and yourself as his beloved.”
Thank you again, Barbara, for sharing Cathy's homily with me. And Thanks Be to God for continually calling us Home -- in both senses of that phrase: for awakening our longing for spirit, and for residing within each of us, so that each of us serves as -- and may be called -- God's Home.