Wednesday, December 10, 2003


When violinist Isaac Stern was asked to describe what it felt like to be onstage, he said, "It's where I'm home; where I'm most happy to be."

Home. On one hand, it's a physical location. A place you can point to and identify. On the other hand, it's a feeling. Serenity, maybe. Peace, comfort, happiness. Having that place in your life where you are "home" brings feelings of contentment and calm. Things match up. The physical and the spiritual are in synch.

But what happens when the physical location is no longer the spiritual location? When the feelings no longer live at that address? What happens when you feel as if there is no place that will bring you that peace of mind and peace of heart? It feels unsettling. It feels sad and empty.

There are times I've had a home -- that is to say, a physical location -- but not that feeling of contentment. I've had homes that never felt "homey" and jobs where I felt I didn't belong. To paraphrase Miss Clavel, "Something was not right! Something was quite wrong!" Sometimes I could identify it, and other times I would bob around in seas of uncertainty, straining to figure out which direction I should go. I was always looking and wishing for that sign with a big arrow: Home this way! It certainly would have made things a lot easier. Bobbing is a bore and uncertainty is tiring.

It seems we are constantly seeking that place where the spiritual lives in the physical. Where we can not only experience peace and contentment, but also point to that place or that situation and say, "This is the place. This is the reason." Everybody takes their own journey at their own pace to find contentment. But it's hard for me to remember and even harder to accept when someone's concept of "home" and happiness is so different from my own.

Last night I saw many divergent paths come together in a manner that could have been messy, to say the least. But instead, people smiled, talked and hugged. People shared stories from their own experiences. And when it was over, everyone left to continue on their own journey towards that place they call "home". Before these paths crossed it was stressful. As they crossed, it was surprising. After they crossed, it was calm.

We can be so focused on our own journey that we neglect to recognize those around us. Some are walking along the same path, before taking a different direction. Some are searching for that sign with a big arrow, unsure which way to go. As you take your journey, be aware of those around you. Encourage those who are lost. Recognize those who walk nearby. Celebrate with others when your paths cross and share your stories. We may find peace in different ways and places, but ultimately, we are all searching for that feeling of happiness and contentment that comes from being "home". I'll look for you on my journeys.
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