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Monday, December 7, 2015

The Sacred Retreat: Part 1

Your own private room.
A sacred retreat, or just another place?

In my childhood, my family moved every few years. Thus home became a transitory thing, ever shifting, ever becoming something new. My mother--never a home-body--always wanted to go out, do things with people, and be involved in the communal process of creating something new. My father, the stay-at-home type, was more interested in protecting what he had, and celebrating what we had as a family, than pursuing the latest in-group activity. As an only child, I often found myself torn between conflicting states of mind and practice, either pulled off to do something scheduled, leaving old friends, churches, and schools to remake the tapestry of my life, or left alone to figure things out for myself.

One of the places that felt like home was my grandparents church. Throughout the years we attended there, I got to know all the regulars, and they felt like members of my family. But then my parents opted to attend a different church, and attending my grandparents' church became impossible. Suddenly, I belonged somewhere else, whether I desired or approved of that new place, or not.

Over time, and especially as I entered my junior high school years, the place I gravitated to, the place which best embodied my ideal of home, was my grandparents house. My grandparents, retiring people who never had much money, celebrated what they had. They immersed themselves in projects around the house, and caring for the church they had attended the majority of their lives. I loved going there whenever I could. In the summer, my parents usually let me stay there for a week or two at a time.

I always looked forward to those extended visits. I always looked forward to spending a quiet week or two in my grandparents' company. I loved attending their church, eating meals with them, and adopting their schedule. All the places I lived had their charms. As my parents never had lots of money, they might not have been the most cultured and refined abodes, but they were all nice. I still have many pleasant memories about all of them.

Still, in comparison with my grandparents' house, they were more like motel rooms, or a sailor's quarters aboard his vessel, or a room in a boarding school. Places to call your own, to inhabit, and decorate, and spend your resting hours in, at least for a little while. Then, it was time to move on.

Did you have your own special place during your childhood? Was it the house you lived in, or somewhere else?

Dragon Dave

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