Friday, June 11, 2010

Being at home

I was very blessed to be at home for the entire month of May. Much time to rest, to play with my little nieces and nephews, to swim regularly with my dad, to be pampered by my mother and aunts with great Vietnamese food. In all of my 21 years of religious life, I don't remember ever having fantastic Vietnamese dishes on such a regular basis. I was able to celebrate daily Mass with my parents and 2-3 year old nieces and nephews, attend my niece Cece's First Communion as well as my sister My-Loc's Law School Graduation. My home-stay ended with with the move of my brother and his wife to their new home. It was indeed a blessed time for self-care and allowing my family to care for me. Robert Frost speaks of something true when he said that home is a place of rest, a secure place and harbor which we sail into. It is experienced as a place from which we do not want to, or need to, go anywhere. Just to remain at.

Yet, what Martin Luther King said of “church” is also true of home. “It is not the place you go to. It is the place you go from.” To be honest, there was a part of me that wanted not to go anywhere while being at home. I felt like a little kid, a bit lazy, and just wanted to "erect tents" like the disciples after experiencing Jesus' Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Like them, I wanted to hang on, to enshrine, my wonderful experience and not venture anywhere else. Isn't this our temptation though, wanting to hold on to cliques and "inner circles" because we feel so comfortable, at home with a group of people? While there is a real value in relishing, enjoying, and savoring these experiences of being at home, we are ultimately called forth from our homes. Perhaps to take what we have been given and foster a sense of home, of belonging, of being loved, beyond our present circle of care and concern. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant in the Last Discourse of John's Gospel when he first invited the disciple to "remain in [his ]love" (Jn 15:9) and soon after he sent them into the world as he is sent by God the Father (Jn 17:14-18). Perhaps this is what St. Ignatius meant when he said "world is our home."

Where or with whom might you & I be invited to remain, and perhaps to go forth from?

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