I am getting ready to leave Richmond Hill in another 4-6 weeks. Oh how time flies when you are praying for the city. I will have moved 3 times in a little over a year once I leave this place. Stability has been on my mind, both in how to find a home for my diversity of passions and as I wonder where my next home will be. In the mist of this transitional year and entering into another period of transition, I have been thinking about stability of place, of people and of heart. How do I find solid ground amidst all of this change?
Finding a Home for my Passions
This year, in the school for vocation, I have done a lot of reflection and discernment about the many elements that make up my vocation, where and how they will fit in the container of my life. I’m interested in community development, coaching, speaking, poetry, writing and facilitation. Twice, the same friend said “ebony, I get the image of a house when you are talking about these things.” I thought he meant an actual organization or place, but when we spoke again, I got more clarification. He said “it seems like you are trying to build a house for yourself, and this is a process of you are trying to figure out the rooms, which ones will be larger or smaller, which ones will get used the most and the least.” Yes, a house or home is a good metaphor for what I am trying to build. It’s also a good symbol for identity. I am learning to enter the mystery, be curious and experiment a bit. Some of the questions of what, how much time and energy for my passions/rooms will only be answered as I try new things, take risks and make decisions. I will have to be patient with these questions and live my way into the answers by trial, error, listening for the spirit, saying yes and no and taking advantage of opportunities in front of me. I’m looking forward to the process, even though it’s a bit scary.
Stability of Place, of People and of Heart
I now live in a new city and plan to stay here for a while. I neither live in the same city as my family or most of my close friends. Most people in our society both move and change jobs every 3-5 years. I wonder how to find some sense of rootedness and solidity of place and people in this type of environment. Returning home is a theme that has come up for me, finding home in God and myself, and the places I can come back to where I have deep connections, rootedness and relationships.
In this changing world, I’ve adopted the notion that I have to find the home in myself, in my own skin and soul. Part of that is making sure to stay connected to the spirit of God within me and knowing the quiet place that is my refuge, where I find God. Wherever I am and God is, I am at home. At home in God and with myself. I must continue to engage in the practices and disciplines that help me come back to myself and return to God. For me that is having times of silence, reflection, medication, journaling, walking outdoors and sitting in gardens. Certain psalms, prayers, scripture passes and songs bring me back to a solid place, within myself and in the arms of God.
There are also people that are connected to specific places that feel like home to me. New York where my family lives is a place I call home, there are people who love me, familiar and caring and supportive people; my favorite places to visit, eat and be. There is an element of home in Charlottesville as well. I know both of these places well, can drive on auto-pilot, and can run into an old friend on the street. I love the familiarity. When I go to both these places I recognize a part of myself that seems to have been missing.
Some of my friends also feel like home, when I go over my friend’s Leonette house, she feels like home. She has known me for over 10 years, we can laugh, do something fun or do nothing. I know I can go into her fridge and closets to get what I need. Likewise, so many of my other relationships is Charlottesville feel like home. I am known, I feel a freedom to be myself. No matter how long I am gone, when I return, we pick up where we left off. This comfort and companionship is priceless, it’s also soul satisfying.
Richmond Hill, now feels like home, a spiritual home, where my love for contemplation, the city, racial justice come into one. The ethos, the people here, the mission and vision feel like home to me. It’s a place I can come back to for guidance, direction, discernment.
Richmond, is new to me, but it starting to feel like home. A place I can build a life, a place I can make a difference and hopefully build that metaphorical house we are talking about.
The only ways I have found to maintain a sense of stability in this ever changing environment, is to I know the places I call home, in God, in myself, in others and specific places/spaces in the world. I hope to go out and explore the world through life and work and return to these places and people as often as I can or as much as is needed to solidify my soul.