Cemetary of Dreams

Thoughts on Home, part the nth

Why does this topic matter so much that it should deserve so much consideration? Maybe because home is as much about the heart as it is about geographic placeholders.

It seems like every time I pause to consider life, I come face to face with that same old Jon Foreman song, "Southbound Train." And with each passing season, it only becomes more true, those most painful of words, that "I'm not so sure / that home is a place / you can still get to by train." True, they've meant different things at different times. When I left England, it was a pretty literal problem of bridging the Atlantic. Then too there was the feeling of time: home as a place in the past that could never be re-entered. These days it's more the sensation of falling out of time and losing synchronicity with the pulse of a world to call my own.

Maybe home is like tiramisu. It has multiple layers and each layer has a different taste and texture, but the unified whole tastes like a slice of heaven. Because place is important, but so are people. And then too, there's something else needed because I loved Agua Viva and my team in Brazil, but we were definitely not home there either. I think the final ingredient in the slapdash recipe is something a little bit harder to define, but it has a lot to do with time. We are shaped by our surroundings, but we also shape them, "like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood." That's a process that requires investment, interaction, and a generosity of years. And maybe that's why I'm the dunderhead that keeps returning to this topic like it's so difficult and intriguing: because I won't give it time. Always walking with silly, up-turned nose to the wind, wondering what excitement and new territories are waiting to be discovered elsewhere, never appreciating the wild world behind my own front door. Maybe I'm afraid to stay: after all, the pain piles up alongside the joy, so that even if we do manage to make our way to that place, we find that we are still learning how to grow up toward the light. Always running, always tripping and falling, mastering the art of standing up, and limping onward on borrowed hope.

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