where is home?

from my sofa, i have watched the frustration of holiday travelers this past week. because of the convergence of various circumstances, so many flights have been cancelled and have stranded people all over the country. of course there is frustration. for me, being stranded and flight cancellation has only happened a few times while traveling. i used to visit seattle two or three times a year from 1985-2018 when i lived out of state, so i am thankful that i have had it relatively easy.

whenever i flew back to seattle, it felt like i was going home.

these past three years, living in the home in which i grew up has been a shift for me but i am comfortable– perhaps too comfortable. while i know that i am still a claretian priest, the vast majority of my lived experience now is being in this house and caring for the woman who gave birth to me. i have adjusted to being primarily the son of my mother.

the last time i flew to LA, i had a feeling i had not had before. it felt like i was going home. of all the places i have lived outside of seattle, LA is the second most– about ten years total; fresno six years is third. there are so many things about california that are part of me; i have always felt in my element there.

LA is where i was first introduced to full time parish ministry as a youth minister at the san gabriel mission. LA is where i professed my perpetual vows as a claretian missionary. LA is where i cut my teeth as a newly ordained deacon and priest. Fresno is the place of st. anthony claret–my favorite parish that i have ever served. my ministerial being was formed in the golden state.

so it was not too surprising that LA felt like home when I last flew. for three years, my ministerial embers have been smoldering in seattle. california is the felt home of this claretian priest. now i can more readily feel the difference. the absence of public ministry has left a void in my being. while i need to do what i am doing now, it has been an existential cross in my life.

a good claretian friend suggested that this is all my personal version of what happened to st anthony toward the end of his life. in 1868, claret was called to be the confessor to spain’s queen isabella II. claret felt these years in his life to be a type of “white martyrdom.” a deep suffering for christ while being trapped in the queen’s court. st anthony accompanied isabella when she was exiled to france. he died there in 1970. st anthony has been a special intercessor for me over these years. our hearts are connected in a special way.

i want to let these experiences of claret continue to marinate in my soul…

i am not used to being so comfortable and i am indeed changing. some of the changes have been noted in my blogs. ultimately, it will be in retrospect that i will be able to more fully glean the lessons of the Holy Spirit is teaching me now.

the better part of me gives thanks to God for these domestic-homebody experiences that i am living now. but questions remain.

so…where is home?

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