Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Comfort...Reflections from My Journal

Thanksgiving day is nearing, and with it, like Christmastime that gallops in on its heels, memories of holidays past... places we've spent those times before, and the people with whom we've spent them, places and people in many cases no longer here, and in all cases no longer the same. One of those significant places for me is my boyhood home in Hillsboro, Georgia, and one of the most significant people is my mama. Holidays tend, in many ways, to make me more uncomfortable than happy. It's not all bad, because there are certainly new memories to carve out this holiday. But the past, like omnipresent Dicken's ghosts, is always haunting the present -- and the future. Here is an entry from my journal from a few months ago that helps put this in perspective -- and indeed gives me comfort:

Saturday, July 14, 2007 (3:07 a.m.)

Some things just don’t feel comfortable anymore. Like my boyhood home. I have very fond memories, but I also remember how uncomfortable the place had become when we’d go up to visit Mama. The beds were uncomfortable, and the arrangement of the house just didn’t appeal to the gentler senses.

It was Mama, and it was me. That’s what made the place special. Those walls and floors and the space within was sacred. But it was the presence of certain people through the years that hallowed them, not any innate virtue.

The spaces have been taken from me – the sacred floors and walls desecrated by the business exchange of a sale. Yet the spaces within me – one might call them memories, but they are something more…much more – are still pure and true. There is something real and eternal that transpired in the mundane act of growing up and making a life my own way that inhabits the spaces that I have brought with me. They’re no longer “up the road a piece, in another county” – they are with me all the time.

I take great comfort in that, but it has taken lots of time for that comfort to settle in. It's still far from complete, but its real presence is clear – like the Spirit of Christ in the Eucharist.

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