Now I am in Austin, TX for seminary, and I'm very excited to get started. It's been a long week of traveling and a few days of getting acclimated to the Texas heat.
This morning I met with a potential spiritual director to do some preliminary work. My bishop is asking me to meet with a spiritual director while I'm in seminary, and it's important to find a good match when it comes to spiritual directors. No two clerics are alike, and the same is true with spiritual directors.
As I met with her, we just had some light chit-chat about Austin, the move, what a sense of being 'called' means, the point of spiritual direction. When she asked me some pointed questions about my own spirituality, though, she latched right onto a word that I kept using without really thinking of it:
Home didn't just refer to the place I grew up; it is a spiritual term. Home. It is loaded with power. It's a place of safety, of comfort, where things can just 'be.' It's a place where you have your bearings and know where you are. Sometimes, at home, you even know WHO you are. Home is also where you can be challenged in a good way and grow from that challenge.
As I journeyed down here, I stopped in Omaha to visit old friends. Driving in on I-80, I felt a sense of 'home' as I hit the city limits. I could see familiar street signs, I passed businesses I knew on Maple, and I smiled wide as I got into the Benson area. I had driven this area frequently in visiting some homebound parishioners. It felt familiar and friendly. When I'd driven into Omaha to start my internship I was hitting rush hour and was scared to death; this time I was hitting rush hour and knew what to do.
Now that I'm in Austin, I feel kind of the same way. I know if I get to Lamar or Guadalupe or 38th Street, I can get home. I'm starting to get my bearings. And with my classmates I feel I can be myself so far. Not open about everything, of course; it's a rare friend you can be completely open with, but I don't have that same fear and apprehension I had when starting college or my internship. Maybe it's lurking around the corner, maybe it's not.
My spiritual director pointed out that home isn't really a place. It's really only in God that we are truly home. It is in God that we can be ourselves, our whole selves, and sometimes our holy selves. In God we can be challenged, our flaws pointed out, our sins laid bare, our heart made new in God's love.
Slowly, I'm coming home to God. It's a lifelong journey but I get to have homes along the way, too.