A PLACE TO COME HOME

I’m at my best friend’s house in upstate New York. I have traveled the world over and I do not know of a more picturesque place than the largest part of New York state. This is perhaps because I am a mountains girl and am most at home hemmed in by these hills. But I think, too, it has something to do with the air here, clear and pine-scented air. I breathed it deep as my little car crested and descended hills, windows open, and eyes open too.

This month off has been, in one word, full.
I mean that in the sense that my best friend’s belly is full of a new life right now. She is bent over a new garden near me, her new husband attentive and capable. She is full of life and we spent four hours this morning talking to one another without pause. She is perhaps the only person in the world with whom I can talk without pause. We are full of questions for one another, full of tears at the things which are deeply in us, full of joy for the other’s joy, and this is what I mean by full.

I spent a week at a cabin by myself in Tyler, Texas, ensconced in a cabin underneath the towering pines of east Texas. I drove hours through the bottom Appalachians through pouring rain and big dreams, to arrive at one of my favorite mountains, a small valley that houses two homes, a family, and some animals, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. I drove 16 hours north (through more pouring rain) to land with the people who make me laugh more, cry more, live more than any people I know, in Potsdam, New York. And now I am here, with my full friend, her living room full of my old things—chairs and art I couldn’t take with me to Texas—her husband full of love for her (and me!), and their lives full of service and love. I am full.
The past few weeks I have accumulated over 50,000 words that will speak of lifelessness and fullness and the ways we hinge ourselves on both, and this week I feel the words slow, the creativity ebb, my cup full.

If there is one thing I know to be true about God these days it is that my heart overflows with a good theme.

The psalmist says "My cup overflows" and I have never know this to be true. 

I have never known the fullness of His character or the depth of His goodness or the life of His love—my cup was half-full or half-empty and I thought this was the way we limped our way toward heaven.

And that may to be true in ways—Jacob wrestled with God, won, and still walked with a limp the whole of his life.

But sometimes I think God delights to give us months or days or minutes in which we know the fullness. He delights to give us glimpses of His wholeness, even in our void. He beckons us toward His joy, even in our sadness. And I think He does it because without these small glimpses at His greatness we would hide, fully in ourselves, fully void of hope. 

I am full, overflowing.

This was written about a week ago, as my month off was inching closer to its end. I am home now, but my laptop died the last day of my sabbatical, so I am awaiting for its successor's arrival before I jump back online with any consistency! 


But thank you, thank you, thank you, for welcoming my guest writers, for extending me grace in my absence, for not deleting me from your feed readers or email lists in my absence. Thank you most of all for being a home of sorts, a place to come home to. 

THOM TURNER

If this is your first time here, welcome! I'm on sabbatical for the month of May, but I have guest posts scheduled in my absence. Enjoy them and hope you'll check out the archives as well!

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Thom writes over at Everyday Liturgy, which is one of my favorite places to visit for, you guessed it, everyday liturgy. He teaches English at Nyack College and is the Senior Editor of Generate Magazine. He also writes for The Curator, The Englewood Review of Books and The Other Journal. I have loved reading everything I've read on his blog and sometimes his short morning liturgies stop me enough to help me coast for the rest of the day on his insights. 


Hope is circular.

It comes in waves, and then recedes back to the ocean. When it leaves, I am left wet—cold and shaking—not knowing what to do next. I start to hope for hope, that like high tide it will come again and wash over me. And maybe the next time it will stay, and I will float in the gentle bob of the current, and let hope take me where it wills.

But I have never had hope hang around like that. It always pulls away and leaves me at low tide.

Faith is the evidence of things unseen and love is the greatest of these, but what is hope a sign of? St. Paul wrote that character creates hope, but he stops there. Tell me Paul, what is the product of hope?

There is a trinity of actions Paul prescribes to us—faith, hope and love—and they each have their role to play. Hope, I feel, is the most fickle of them, always supported by faith or love. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and love always hopes, so in the end hope is built on a foundation of faith and love.

I long to always be hopeful, to see the bright side of things, to be constantly cheerful, joyful, fun-loving and gregarious. To be hopeful no matter my place in life or circumstance. I always feel hope fail my grasp like sand running through my fingers, and then wonder how do I hold onto something that constantly shifts. How do I sustain hope?

I can start turning back to the foundations of faith and love. If hope fails let me have faith. If faith and hope both fail me, then let me continue to love until faith finds its way back to me and hope follows with it. Only then will the waves of hope come crashing back, and I can find my home in the warmth of living waters.