Wednesday, January 9, 2008

this present day

I have a wise and thoughtful uncle who wrote me letters in college, and among the pulls of papers and meetings and RA-ing and hanging out with friends far too late into the night, I wrote him back a few letters myself. At intervals, he would send along books with the letters. I am reading one of them now, happily positioned in the peach and blue recliner a family from my sister's church gifted to her. She is married to a seminary student, and seminary students are a good population to give old furniture to. With all the time I have recently found like an inheritance tucked away in a safety-deposit box, I am reading for pleasure, not for a grade. This is a good thing.

The book is a collection of essays by a columnist for World Magazine. Her name is Andree Seu, and she writes with a wit and succinctness I covet. She is one of those writers whose pen (and mind) I wish I could borrow. And never give back. Anyway, she writes this in one of her essays about traveling home to her parents in Rhode Island for the holidays:

"When I arrive home--or is Pennsylvania home?--the lesson, alas, is the same I learned last year, and the year before: that all earthly homes produce as much longing as satisfaction, are signposts and not the city itself. And I thank God both for the foretaste and the vague yearning that keeps me headed homeward, keeps my heart on pilgrimage."

Hmm. I identify with these words. They uncover my tendency to mortify the present. No "earthly home" is ever quite what I am looking for. So I fret about the past and pin my hope on the future and scorn the current pasture.

In today's prayer, I ask this: that God, in His great mercy, would give me the grace to catch sight of heaven's weight in the flimsy and quickly going stuff of earth. In the longing and yearning and in the tasting of satisfaction, I would keep walking Homeward. Live faithfully in the moment at hand; not forget that there is a sequel that will outlast the current volume by a few million pages.

The shadow is coming to full color soon.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed that quote. The last break at home was soooo good, but it's true: it's never quite what I imagine it to be. I imagine that it might be because we're too idealistic, but perhaps it is good to hold to such idealism, if it keeps us gazing into the horizon, looking for the coming of our true satisfaction.

    Praying for the revelation of those "tastes of home" for you, friend.