This evening, after settling Max in with a pizza, a movie, I headed out to my friend Joseph’s new condo in the city.
Tucked into an “up-and-coming” neighborhood in-transition it is the apartment I always dreamed I would have back in my childhood when I imagined my life as an adult. High ceilings, huge windows with views of the urban landscape, beautiful art on the wall. There was no clutter, no toys to trip over, no pile of shoes at the door. A fireplace in the kitchen, and perfectly placed candles set the mood of peace and calm. It was, by far, the most chic home I have entered in years–maybe ever.
A small grouping of us were gathered in Joseph’s new home to bless it–bless it in the tradition of his family. His father, an Eastern Orthodox priest, had flown up from Little Rock where he runs social justice programs for the church, to perform the ritual.
The atmopshere was heavy with incense and chanting in ancient languages that felt both strange and familiar. As we stood together around the room, the apartment shifted from chic to sanctified, rarified, sacred space.
Afterward, as we gathered in the kitchen, Joseph and I talked about the ritual and about faith. A house blessing, we agreed, was not only about welcoming the Divine into the home, but about inviting the Divine to take residence within ourselves, that our real home–the place we are called back to over and over again is in our heart. All faiths, if we get can drill down to the core of them, are about finding our way back home to our hearts, are about seeking the God within us.
Lately I have had so many dreams about my home.
The other night, I dreamt that my yard was falling away. Big holes had been dug in my yard by someone attempting to do something good but now they were huge, gaping and ugly. And worse still the holes were expanding, growing bigger. Then, a horrible rain began to fall. The rain filled up the holes and my house was floating and adrift. And I was undone by it.
Yes, that was me, feeling the earth fall away, feeling isolated and cranky in my winter blues. An island. In my dream a dear friend came and encouraged me to build a bridge, to build a boat. To not worry about the rain or the holes but instead to focus on connecting, on crossing the water, on building my own solid ground beneath my feet. My heart knew what I needed to do to take refuge from the January storms.
Home, the physical one where our bodies dwell–and the fleshy one where our spirits dwell, is the most sacred of spaces. It is the place where all the trappings fall away and we are nothing but ourselves–complete, enough, simple. Home is the sacred space where (as Joseph Campbell would say), “We find ourselves again and again”.
After a glass of wine and chatting the ear off of Joseph’s lovely father, I drove home and happily opened the door to my very unchic cluttered house. I tripped over shoes and toys and found my boy sleeping on the couch like and angel. I breathed in the sweet musky sent of him and held him in my arms. I said an Alleluia as I found myself in the sacred act of carrying him to bed, of kicking off my shoes and brushing my teeth. Amen–I said. I am home.