Like a flock of homesick cranes flying night and day back to their mountain nests let all my life take its voyage to its eternal home in one salutation to thee. Rabindranath Tagore

I have had this ache for quite a while now.  I used to feel it mostly in my skin… on the very edges of all of me like a waking-up-nerve kind of tingle… or a toes-so-cold-prickly-warming-up sensation.  These days it has settled into my bones… deep into my bones such that no medicine can relieve its constant beckoning call for attention.

I can’t define it or describe it or even call it by name.  I can only say what it is like, not what it is or where it comes from.  It’s just there… all day/every day… an emptiness inside that aches.

In a moment of quiet prayer I name the void… I am homesick.
And I am grieving.

For the spiritual home that fed me God when I was a child.  For the community that was a hub of interesting, faithful people and frenetic, chaotic, wonderfully energetic activity.  For a time when the Scriptures felt fresh and alight with God-messages that pierced my ability to comprehend.  For a vibrant worship experience with an inspired priest who was deeply engaged with the people.  I am homesick for my church.

What exactly I wish to recapture I don’t know.  I do not wish to turn the clock back; the past has served us well but it is a new world we live in today.  I have not lost faith nor have I lost sight of God in my everyday.  I pray differently now than I did before, but still I am sustained by a peaceful interior.  I just know that something is missing because I used to have it.

I know a lot of people who are experiencing this same feeling.  We all talk around it in circles but no one seems quite able to adequately say what it is all about.  And we are all hoping that we’ll find it again… or maybe it will find us… because we keep showing up every week whether we feel like it or not.  We keep hoping that one word or phrase, one spark of an idea, one bit of inspiration will set us on fire again.  Is it silly to keep hoping?

I know the world is changing.  I know that I am changing.  I think I am hoping that my church will change too.  To keep pace with the reality that I experience everyday.  To better understand the challenges and struggles that the world presents for me and my family.  To help me wade through all the bombarding messages that compete for my attention.  To offer me a safe haven when I need to unplug for a bit.  The church I used to know was this kind of place.

Now I am a homesick crane desperately flying night and day searching for my mountain nest…


About Elaine Menardi

Heading off on a new adventure! I solve problems and make ideas happen.

5 responses »

  1. RianeM says:

    There is a beautiful Portugese word for this feeling: Saudade. It’s one of my favorites.

  2. […] Where can I find a home? […]

  3. Rox says:

    3:00am…. Albuquerque… conference…….. Rolheiser, Rohr and Gateley. Things seem clear at 3:00am…. we will see in the light of day.

    In the middle of the sessions yesterday, I made the statement to old friends (I met at the conference.)

    I think have just left the church. I was as surprised as they were.

    The conference topic, Loving the Two Halves of Life: the Further Journey, has focused on the stages of life, stages of discipleship and our experiences with God during these times.

    The first half of life is the survival dance and completely necessary, while the second half of the journey is the sacred dance, if we choose to take it. In youth, puberty forced us out of our homes into the world to create our own home.

    Yesterday, the reality of the institutional church and it’s narrow thinking at times, the treatment of women, gay men and lesbians, the lack of movement on issues like immigration and nuclear reduction thrust me out and away from my home of 36 years. As so well stated by Loretto Sr. Mary Ann Cunningham with regards to a church visitation of women religious…

    …”the church (that) has become weighted down by a non-Jesus-like dogmatism and a fear of the future. The thou shalt nots have begun to outnumber both charity and reason Millions of children in Africa and Haiti, for example, have died or been orphaned by AIDS, yet the church continues to condemn condoms (except, not for, male prostitutes). young students bully and terrorize fellow students who may be gay, causing not a few to end their own lives, while the church silently supports this behavior with its “teachings.’ A bishop in Phoenix excommunicates a religious sister ethicist for voting with her hospital board to allow the termination of a pregnancy in the critically ill mother of four. Can you, in your wildest imaginings see Jesus act like this? I can’t.”

    I am angry and laying blame. This was pointed out by Tom, a different friend (ironically, the priest who ushered me into the church as a young adult convert. Isn’t it interesting that he would be here in this conversation? coincidence?)…
    He tells me….. You have to stop laying blame. That is a behavior based firmly in the first half of life experience.

    I do? I do. So, I left the church, left my home, like an earlier exit in adolescence, out the door. Like many behaviors of an earlier life, I grip my anger and blame as a priced possession but I need to drop them on the side of the road and walk on….
    And just like that……. I left the church.

    As Edwina Gateley said, God has been let out of the box, the golden box with velvet curtains and slipped out the door of the church. I need to follow her, follow God and like a great magnet, he will bring me home out in the world.

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