As February weather often does, the crazy travel week I’d anticipated during this stretch turned more, um, adventurous, as a result of snow and wind and sleet.
Sunday and Monday found me in Durham, NC, to attend Duke Divinity School’s Clergy Study Day, and to celebrate Eucharist on Tuesday morning. Mother Nature sent a serious storm with lots of ice, which cancelled the divinity school’s Eucharist, but had no effect on Clare Chapel’s schedule, at the Peter Maurin House of the Community of the Franciscan Way. A lover of this group since before its inception, it was a joy and privilege to celebrate there.
With plans to fly up to Minnesota from Charlotte on Thursday morning, if I wasn’t getting home to Columbia on Tuesday because of the weather, there was little point in driving through Charlotte on Wednesday and back in the morning–I moved to another friend’s guestroom on Tuesday (guestrooms in Durham are in high demand, and I had to vacate), and then stayed with family on Wednesday.
Last night found me in yet another bed–my fifth in six nights. Not since the sojourn to France last summer have I moved so much so quickly. Whereas France felt like a jaunty pilgrimage, the heavy winter layers, continuing work, and family illness make this hop-scotch of the country less carefree.
This week’s exploits have gotten me reflecting on and poking about for God’s particular presence in these circumstances. Relying on the kindness of friends and relatives of varying intimacy, relentlessly bombarded by (slight) discomfort and unfamiliarity, the very small inconveniences (because, really, I’m driving about in my own car, flying around on an airplane, sleeping in clean, warm beds, with plenty of food) which persist in road-warrior travel can often pile up and morph into irritation, monkey-mind, and exhausted over-activity.
It hasn’t been as pleasant as staying home with my sweet puppy and dear husband, but it hasn’t been all that bad, either. I’ve been trying to find holiness in the discomfort, submitting to the strictures and patterns of my surroundings and hosts, accepting hospitality in the many forms offered, some more to my particular tastes than others. So maybe part of the point is to get more out of touch with our own tastes–to get more in line with others’ lives, to break out of our own schedules and routines in order to sit with, eat with, and live into other peoples’ habits and routines, if only for a little while.
I’m trying to look below the surface, to sneak peeks at God’s breath blowing through all the homes I’ve been fortunate to inhabit in the last week–including my own. The comfort of home (and in my absence from it, noticing the freedoms I take for granted, and considering how I might better honor the freedoms I’ve been given–I wear a lot more make up when I’m traveling and want to feel put together; I feel no such need at home, but why not give my husband a bit of the view strangers on the street get?), the simplicity of communal life (which throws into sharp and glorious relief the value of relationships–not the frenzied, veneer-y visiting that can infect so much of modern life, but the quiet companionship of presence), the surprising and welcome happiness of working over a bottle of wine (both an homage to old Duke days and an easy intimacy in silence), the stability and joy of family (nail-painting, swapping recipes; reminiscing), the contemplative stillness around life’s edges (sitting vigil with Grandpa).
Where have you glimpsed God lately?