“Going home?” This was the question an agent asked me while I was passing through US Customs in Canada. It triggered a strand of reflection within me and uncovered a grace.
The theme of “home” has occupied much real estate in my mind lately. Throughout the past two weeks, I have been talking with my Provincial and house superior about where I will live in the next three years. This past weekend, I shared about unconditional love as a “coming home,” in preparation for an upcoming retreat. Just before the inquiry posed by the customs agent, I proposed to a friend some concrete ways how we can support one another to grow in faith and ministry. His peace-filled reply caught me by surprise: “I am at home with what you’re thinking.”
I am going home, to the Murray Jesuit Community in Oakland. Yet, I am leaving it in a week to find home in another community in East Los Angeles. However, a number of factors conspire to prevent me from fully settling in my new house for several months. In particular, I am going home to my family in San Diego for a month. It is the last leg of my nine month Tertainship experience. (This is an unexpected gift since I had not previously imagined being with my family for an extended period, after twenty-one years of short visits.)
In all of the above places, I feel a sense of belonging, familiarity, comfort, and safety. I am grateful I can call these places home. However, there is another level of meaning. Home is more than a physical place; rather, it consists of a web of relationships whereby we are loved and accepted as we are, without condition, without having to deserve, gain, or earn love; it allows us to touch the bedrock of who we are, encourages us to be our truest selves; it is where we feel safe enough to take risks of greater vulnerability or be challenged to grow.
As a Catholic, I am called to find home in Christ, in the church community, in serving others. As a Jesuit, I am invited to find home in community, in mission, on the road, and most importantly, in the heart of Christ. The journey of these eight months, thus far, has allowed me to come home, in all of the senses described above. More than ever, I see my life as a pilgrimage of trust, an adventure home.
When I replied, “Yes, I am going home,” to the cheerful customs agent, I also smiled to myself: “Yes, I am a pilgrim going home.” There is an invitation here, which allows me to rest in gratitude … and beckons me forth in trust …
Friends, where are you going? With whom are you at home … and coming home to?