“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. "All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes " -- Maya Angelou
Writing last Saturday:
When I need a brain rest, I confess to turning on the television to HGTV, a channel about people who are either improving or shopping for a house. They invariably insist that a real home must have stainless steel appliances and granite countertops… oh, and a man cave.
The weekend before this past, two St. Alban’s occasions stirred up a lot of home-y thoughts for me, and both events have been mentioned in previous Cups. That Sunday, we welcomed Syrian immigrant families to participate in our service, and they more than welcomed us to some pretty terrific lunch food and joyful dancing. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming to hear of their courageous journeys. I was reminded of a quote from Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose: “Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.” I heard nothing about granite countertops.
Continuing to write on Monday:
Saturday night, I was called to Inova Fairfax Hospital to be with my oldest and dearest friends. Jane, Mac and I met at the beginning of my freshman year at college, 53 years ago this month. Jane was my roommate. Since then, we have been inseparable through the worst and best times of our lives. We have no secrets and love each other unconditionally. Jane and I sat at Mac’s bedside as Saturday night became Sunday morning, and an unanticipated but healing death approached. As crazy as it sounds, there was something of home in being safely together through those hours, stripped emotionally bare of everything but shared stories and 53 years of overwhelming love.
I am now tired and sad, but so grateful that we can bear witness to even a small sense of home to those on a journey. We are all on a homeward search. The fragility of life, be it from being uprooted from one's homeland or the approach of life’s end, intensifies the need. And I am grateful that this man of faith is now truly at home, as we have been promised.
Ten days ago, at the memorial service for another friend, we sang her favorite hymn that paraphrases the twenty-third psalm—hymn 664 for Episcopalians. The final verse of that hymn says it all.
The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode, and all my work be praise!
There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home.
For Mac. Welcome home.