Like all of us, I have contradictory impulses. I find in myself seemingly opposed desires, and tendencies, which operate with greater or lesser strength at different times. One of those for me has to do with a sense of home and belonging. On the one hand, I have a strong desire to be free to go wherever God calls me. I have what one of my friends termed a strong missionary streak and that side of me likes the idea of being ready and able to pick up and go wherever I am led by the Spirit, be it Nepal and India (as I did in my younger days) or Minnesota (where I am now), without anything to hinder me. That is the side of me that sees my path as a series of pilgrimages. The side of me that gets nervous when I feel like I have too many belongings, too much “stuff.” For that part of me, notions like “home” and “belonging” have no place.
But there is also a part of me that desires to feel a sense of home, to feel like I belong somewhere. In most periods of my life I have not felt a sense of home and belonging, feeling, as like I didn’t (and don’t) fully fit in wherever I am. I have often experienced feelings of rootlessness and homelessness.
When I look at tension between those two tendencies, which is reflected over and over again in my journals through the years, I know that what I want most deeply is to be totally willing and free to go wherever God may want to send me.
In an episode in St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus answers the scribe who tells Him he will follow Him anywhere by telling him that “foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” I read that line and I want it to not matter where I lay my head.
When I reflect on that passage, I realize that there is a very fine line between no place being home and every place being home. What I hope to appreciate more and more is that wherever I am called to be is home because that is where God has asked me to be.