I’ve wandered a bit in my life. My travels have taken me to almost every state in the union (4 left to go). I have spent almost a year of my life in England (3-4 weeks at a time). I like to travel and those experiences of new landscapes and cultures have shaped me.
As much as I travel one of the best parts of any trip is coming home.
There is nothing more comfortable than sleeping in my own bed. There is a safety and security in being with my family and in the common, known surroundings of where I live. Home is my anchor in any storm. I realize for many this sense of home as a place where they are accepted, where they belong is missing. Having a place where you belong, where you know you are accepted and safe is essential to our emotional well being. When it’s absent, we feel it.
We often identify ourselves by what we do. You meet someone new and early in the conversation you will undoubtedly ask or be asked, “What do you do?” While we may find satisfaction, even some sense of identity in what we do, our worth is far more than the sum of our efforts, of what we do. A key component of our identity actually comes from a deep understanding and appreciation of where we fit, where we belong. For most people, that core place of belonging is called home.
You’ve probably heard it said, “We are human beings not human doings.” How you see yourself apart from what you do influences every aspect of your life. This self-awareness is rooted and strengthened by your sense of home: finding, embracing even celebrating where you belong.
Before I was a priest, a musician, a student (whatever my role), I was M.Q’s and June’s son (my parents). I belonged to them and with them. I was loved and cared for. I did not have to prove my worth or find my place, it was gifted to me. Now, wherever I go, whatever I do, wherever I live, I carry that sense of belonging with me. Home becomes an internal geography, knowing I belong.
One of the saddest words to me is Homeless. People need shelter a place to live. That is not the homelessness I am referring to. The deep sadness of this word is when homeless means a person does not feel like they belong anywhere. Their upbringing perhaps was not a comfort.. It may have even been violent and fearful. They were robbed of this gift of belonging and in that sense they have never had a home. How blessed, how wonderful when they find a group, a team, a neighborhood, a church, a club where they truly begin to experience that deep sense of acceptance and belonging.
Today, if you know you belong, be thankful. If you see someone who doesn’t know this gift, be kind and offer them some of what you have been given. If you feel you do not belong, don’t give up. You can whisper a prayer. You can ask for help. All of us are on a journey to find our home and the place where we belong. Some may have been given a head start but we can all get there.
“As part of my spiritual growth I am trying to be intentional about taking time to ‘Get still and listen to God.’ I can make lists, accomplish large tasks, manage just about anything, pray daily, attend church weekly yet have found myself yearning for quiet, quiet time with God. Having just matured to the age of 60 I am ready to take a back seat in life and allow God to work through me instead of trying to manage my spiritual life and time with God. At All Saint’s Episcopal Church I am part of a centering prayer group that centers in our gorgeous chapel. Centering in community in this space brings me tremendous joy.
Recently I decided to design a ‘one day retreat of Centering for myself’ and was searching for a location to do this in Orlando. Canterbury Retreat Center came to mind and they provided me full gracious Southern hospitality for 6 hours. I sat in the Church at Canterbury by myself with some spiritual books to read, a Bible, Tiaz music from my iPhone, and the overwhelming beauty of the Church and a rainbow of light streaming through the stained glass windows. God’s love and grace filled the space and I was in it, basking and soaking it up. As I departed at the end of the day my heart was full of God’s word, his voice and love for me. The hours at Canterbury empowered me to go forth in the world walking tall with God’s grace embracing me. Canterbury Retreat Center is a blessing provided to us by our Diocese and I am thankful.”
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