Sunday, May 22, 2011

Where Is My Home?

He was sitting on a bench, cane in hand, with his eyes closed tight. Downtown on Sunday mornings is the most soothing place on earth. Across from this old man's place of comfort sat the courthouse and a quaint church--one of which I have never been inside. Both release the sounds of life that keep people moving--the chimes of time, and the awe of a group of voices singing.

For the first time in awhile, our family was trying to find a home. Our first visit to an unknown congregation with new faces was a strange and awkward position--one of which was not the least bit alluring or entertaining--but we immediately felt at peace once the music began. It moved us, much as the chorus downtown soothes the elderly stranger.

Shanna and I left the church, beating traffic after dismissing early, and feeling rejuvenated. There the old man was sitting in the same spot on the same bench as we passed through the Square in order to find sustenance for the afternoon. As we passed, I watched him mouth the words of the chorus to the hymn being sung across the street and smiled. He opened his eyes slowly to see me looking; he waved gently, and I repeated the gesture.

"Who's that?" Shanna asked.
"I have no idea."

I wondered about his story--why he chose to sit on that bench and soak in the Sunday moment rather than walk through the heavy church doors and sit on a pew and join in the singing.

"You have one mortal enemy: time," Pastor Miller said. "How many times have you heard someone say, 'Where did the time go?'"

I thought of the courthouse clock in town. Its chimes reminding all of us of our long to-do lists for the day ahead. For over ten years, I have said that clock was a quintessential part of my hometown. But as the years have weighed on that elderly man singing hymns to himself each Sunday, I wonder if each interrupting chime stands as too much of a reminder of things to come... Or, perhaps, how much things have changed.

Still without a home, technically, my family and I plan on giving Pastor Miller and his church another chance next Sunday. We are one step closer to finding a home, but what of the old man? What of me? Will I be there, fifty years from now, sitting on the bench, listening to hymns every Sunday, homeless and alone? Or will I have finally found contentment and understanding in my needed self-reflection, and soon find a place to plant my feet?

I can change my future if I just take some time to breathe, then act. Act on love, act on impulse, act on inhibition, and proactively be somebody--somebody who does not worry or grow impatient. Somebody to love. Somebody with a home.


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  1. You have been posting inspiring thoughts, lately.

    "Where is my home?"

    I have been wondering about that a lot, the last ten years or so. And as a result of that been moving around a lot. My experience is that 'home' not merely is a - or the - place where you live. First of all it is a state of mind and a lifestyle. However, having established these, the place is important, too. You also have to consider the fact that state's of mind and lifestyles can, and that place's surely will change in time. I think that 'home' will be feeling best when and where those three are in close harmony with each other.

    It sure helps when your attitude is positive and, yes, I agree with you that we all have got our future in our own hands.

    ... Although I am at home, my journey still continues.

  2. Well, I've already had a post about that kind of home in the past, but this was more of a "home" as in a place for fellowship--a church.

    Hence why I said the old guy was also homeless, because he wasn't inside the church, but outside, and we are now "between churches."

  3. Beautiful thoughts. I like to sit outside myself. That's when I feel closest to God.

  4. Perhaps that's why he's there, too, then.

  5. My home has been at home the past year or two, only venturing to a church I am familiar with on sparse occasions. Fear of failure, dismay, betrayal, rejection, etc. keep me away but the gentle wooing of the real reason to go to church in the first place is slowly luring me back little by little. I am so happy and relieved to know how patiently He waits. :) May you find a home that is solid as a rock and welcoming as the first warm spring breeze after a long harsh winter.. :)

  6. Thank you. :) We left our old church for all the right, personal reasons and now we're looking for something for those same reasons...

    The place we visited yesterday proved to be a pretty awesome church, I just hope we're not wrong in thinking that.

  7. I did understand that you had been writing about faith/religion and being between churches ...

    But aren't these - faith/religion and a church - part (and for some of us a very important part) of the bigger concept of 'home'?

    Anyway, like I wrote before, inspiring thoughts and beautifully written. Keep it on!

    And of course I wish that you and your family may soon find a new church.

  8. Home for me are the deserted hallways in school,filled with dancing shadows,jet black,but for the persistant light of the truly devoted. Packed and condemning during the day; a private respite in the night. Here I wander, greeted by silence, welcomed by darkness,seduced by delusion ever content...impromptu poetry...

    But seriously,I have to pick up my sister from Drama, lasting till 6:00 (I live in Hong Kong) practice, so I spend a lot of time in those halls...and I'm a night person; can't get any real work done till the sun goes down...

  9. Loved. Every. Word. :) Fantastic entry and superb placement of 'sustenance' it makes going for food sound so much more interesting. lol.

  10. It's kind of hard to be in between churches. Even harder to find one that you feel that you can belong to. But God is faithful and I'm sure He will lead you and your family to the right place:)

    Enter the Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway on my blog!!

  11. Ben: Well, I'm glad you understood, and yes that's what I was getting at in my post. Your words just seemed more geared towards a central home rather than just a second-home like church is for me--that's the only reason why I said something, sorry if I came off any other way. :)

    Paolo: Newspaper class in high school used to be that kind of place for me. :) So inspiring, right?

    Josh: Hahaha food and I are best friends, so I'm glad that added a bit of intrigue to the concept. :P

    Sher: Thank you! Honestly, the one we visited really rejuvenated my Spirits. I'm hoping that we did find the right one for us. :) And I might just enter that! ;D

  12. Oh Jen, this is beautiful. I love how you write about poignant topics. You tell me the story and my heart hums along woth your perfect wrought words.

  13. D'aw, thanks, Jenny. Your words are always so sweet. I'm just glad the sentiment and intention were easily attainable to everyone.

  14. wow, thats inspiring, thanks for posting!


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