or something.

I have a dream for my life. It involves other people, investing in their lives and creating community, friendship and love.

It involves hospitality, creating safe spaces for those who might otherwise not have a space to call home. I’m hoping that my home will be a home for teenagers in long term care, and or for those just ageing out of care. I want to create a space too that is home for those who have been called into the mission field and need somewhere to call home for a while. I want to gather folks who are committed to radical hospitality and the creation of safe spaces, who have a yearning in their soul to see the abandoned found. I want to create a space that nurtures my creativity, and therefore allows others to explore and nurture their creativity.

what this exactly looks like, feels like, tastes smells and sounds like… I don’t really know. for now, though, I am putting my energy and resources into creating a foundation for this future. I am investing in the things that I want to be successful at later. I am seeking opportunities to learn more about myself, in order to be realistic in planning for this future. I am an optimist, and I am a realist.

I’m trying really hard to notice my life more. I get so quickly sucked into social media- where as we all know, you can scroll and scroll and scroll and nothing has been accomplished. Less often than I’d like a connection is made, but generally it’s a waste of my time and energy. It takes real intention and effort to make changes in your life. Small steps that are taken every day, slowly bringing us closer to our goals. I’m trying to notice those small steps and to make sure that they are on a path I want to follow.

Here’s to noticing, listening and creating.

above all, here’s to dreaming.

 

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home

I just spent two weeks away from my flat.

The first week I was up North with my family, celebrating Christmas. It was a lovely time of game playing, food eating, walk and photo taking, book reading and as much sleep as we could fit in. It was also a week where I felt rotten, switching immediately from work to holiday mode usually gives me the lurgy, and this time was no different. As lovely as this trip was, I was glad to be home again, in a place where I’m familiar.

Two days later, after some fun celebrating a family turning 100, and weather-related flight delays, I was in another place that I call home. This time I was taking 8 days in New Jersey to celebrate one of my favourite humans turn another year older, and also to join in with a big group of friends as we celebrated the marriage of a couple of precious humans.

Going back to South Jersey is always a bittersweet experience, and this time was no exception. On the whole, everyone is healthy, happy and well. There are always a few who are not, but they’re working towards the light. It’s trips like this that make me consider anew what it means to be ‘home’.

The dictionary has a range of definitions, centring around the idea that home is

1- One’s place of residence

2- the social unit formed by a family living together.

So, home is either a place or your people- living together. There’s a narrowness to these definitions that is both helpful (when we can describe what we do and do not experience) and exclusive (when we are bounded only by these definitions without space to stretch).

Though I no longer live with any of my family, my home is in one way defined by them. In the decade since I moved out, my idea of family has taken on a certain fluidity too. My definition has expanded to include the friends with whom I am doing life.

If my home is my place of residence, then it is a place of shelter, a safe haven. As I was leaving New Jersey in 2014, when I moved back to Scotland, one of my friends quoted Emily Dickinson to me: ‘I felt it shelter to speak to you’. When we talk of shelter, generally we’re talking in the physical. When we get the chance to discuss this in the metaphorical, we expand our hearts. If I experience ‘home’ just as the four walls in which I reside then I might be very stingy indeed with how I allow others to experience it. I am enriched, however, when I open up my life to others at the same time as opening my doors. When you’re living with people, you know their mess, you know how it feels to fight, you know how to pull them out of their black, blue or orange moods. Emily Dickinson, I think has the right of it here- our words become shelter; the first invitation to home. That invitation allows us to know and be known. It’s in that exchange that we become family to one another.

I am forever blessed and heartbroken to call multiple places home. I hope that’s true for many of us, and that we can continue to open doors and hearts to one another, in the midst of the not-perfect, the messed up, the broken. My prayer is that we continue to do that, when it’s hard and doesn’t seem worthwhile, when it might cost us something extra, when it feels like going too many extra miles.

May we be people of shelter, who bring each other home.