Home Keeping

Today I fly back to Guatemala. In fact, I’m typing this in the Dallas airport on my layover with the smell of Auntie Anne’s pretzels wafting around the corner to my makeshift workspace.

photo-4I’m happy to be going back to the country that I’m currently calling home. Yet I’m sad to be leaving the other homes that have planted themselves on my heart. I’m hopeful for the next six months, for my new internship and opportunities to serve. I’m even hopeful for my Spanish. Yet I’m scared of the unknown, of missing friends and family. Of missing home.

I recently finished reading Kathleen Norris’, The Cloister Walk. It was fabulous. I highly recommend it to anyone with a faint interest in poetry, communal living, monastic life, or God. Kathleen spent a great deal of time in a Benedictine monastery, learning the liturgy, breathing in the Psalms and solitude, strengthening her own faith through routine and commitment to those around her.

After leaving the monastery, she aches for the monastic home she left. She writes,

At times I’m homesick for a place that isn’t mine, homesick for 200 monks and their liturgy. Most people have the sense not to get themselves into such a predicament.”

Most people have the sense not to up and move to a foreign country. Not to pledge their hearts to too many people in too many disparate places.

And yet I’ve chosen to make a new home, or try to at least. To become an oblate of the Guatemalan community, dedicated to their rule of life for a time.

photo-3Kathleen asks herself, in the absence of her new home, “What do I do now for ceremony and community?”

What do I do now for my community?

She answers, “My instinct is to keep as much of the monastery in me as possible.

As I leave, as I fly over mountains and snow and ocean, my instinct is to keep as much of “home” in me as possible. As much of the joy of my dear, dear girl friends in San Diego. As much of the love and security of my family, zany as they are. As much of the hope and community and joy of my church community in me as possible.

Today I go back to my new home happy and sad. Hopeful and scared. And fully prepared to embrace this new challenge of home keeping.

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