Sunday, February 1, 2015

we'll take the scenic route

the road there being dark, narrow, and shoulderless, 
and home, with its lights, not far away.
--Robert Wrigley


Pieces of home
Going home is always a fascinating process. You find that you fit back into the old places and relationships, terrifyingly easily and automatically.
It is beautiful to be there: in a place that has molded your heart, which has had such a hand in making you the human being you are.

As I walked into the Como chapel, I was home.
But in a way that I am home at the Church down on Lexington avenue; and the way that I am home in the lady chapel at St. Patrick's; and the way I am at home on the bus between Islington and Waterloo; and the way that I am at home at Mother's tomb; and the Place du Tertre; and in the colonnades of St. Peter's.
Although those places were all equally home, there was something so blessed in being at home in this place, of all places, where I first learned to be. 

In a place where you learned to be human, you will always have a place.
Although the friends who walked the paths with me were gone, I still walked the old familiar walks.
As I walked along sidewalks that still bore my footprints, I laughed out loud. I thought of so many times I had contributed to the erosion of this cement.
And there I was, back again, walking as if I'd never been anywhere else.
It was glorious, to slip back into old walking routines. I thought of all the prayers I had offered, walking down this concrete trail. I thought of all the memories stuffed behind benches and under trees. 
I thought of the quiet moments. 
There is the loud Notre Dame, and how I love it: the laughter late at night, and the earnest conversations over drinks, the wanting to fix everything in the world all at once, and the frustration with all that needs fixing.
But that Notre Dame is always with me, if perhaps not as tangible, palpable, or as evident.
This Notre Dame, the quiet Notre Dame, the Notre Dame of solitude and peace, will always be here; particularly here, on this insignificant parcel of land in Western Indiana.
It it will be here, waiting, for moments of retreat, for moments of silence in the surge of forward motion.
What could have easily become simply nostalgia, repeating over and over again like the track of a song stuck in my head, became something deeper. 
Instead of nostalgia, it felt so much more like gratitude, thankfulness for all the moments that were now past, wonder and awe that they ever could have been, and unadulterated joy that they were so;
gratitude that I had learned something here, walking through cold winter nights back from the bars, walking to the cave of candles, walking through the quads, always lighted by the golden woman on her perch. 
I learned something here that I could then take with me, to all the other homes I must make.


Dove always knows

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