Sunday, July 1, 2012

Going Home: Taking Your Own Road

"Going home is a lifelong journey.  There are always parts of ourselves that wander off in dissipation or get stuck in resentment.  Before we know it we are lost in lustful fantasies or angry ruminations.  Our night dreams and daydreams often remind us of our lostness.

Spiritual disciplines such as praying, fasting and caring are ways to help us return home.  As we walk home we often realize how long the way is.  But let us not be discouraged.  Jesus walks with us and speaks to us on the road.  When we listen carefully we discover that we are already home while on the way." ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen
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Perhaps, like myself, you can relate to Nouwen's thoughts about "going home." Our spirits, our souls yearn for a place to rest in the midst of busy lives. But each day we find ourselves wandering off the homeward path. Perhaps we get caught up in lustful fantasies of no substance or in angry ruminations. We look at our co-worker or our neighbour's wife and wish that that our partner was more like them. We spend the entire morning being pissed off by guy who cut us off in traffic or the idiot at the coffee shop who didn't fasten our lid all the way.

Spiritual disciplines and practices are vital in realizing a calmer life that stays on the pathway home.  Nouwen suggests prayer as one such discipline. From one sojourner to another - I suck at it.  My mind is so busy and stressed so much of the time that sitting in prayerful silence is about as productive as seeking a Catholic priest to perform a gay marriage. So I get creative. I pray by journaling, because writing is what I love to do. What do you love to do? Cycling? Running? Spending the day at the beach? Why not try spending some conscious time with God while doing these things? It may be 30 minutes, it may be 5 minutes. 

As Nouwen says, each of us is on our way home, and yet we are already there. Always, God is with us.

Mark Andrew Alward