I recently got my grandniece, Isla Rose, a book for preschooler on “Where do you live?” which starts with the child’s bedroom, then maps out the house, the street, the city, the state, the country, and the world. It’s a neat little book that helps a small child understand the gradations of place in which we maneuver and to which we belong.
I was thinking of a different type of “Where do you live?” this morning, reflecting on my weekend visit to see my beloved Dad & his wife and of today’s upcoming time with a new friend whom I’m eager to get to know.
My visit this weekend with my Dad was one of the best I’ve ever had and I realized this morning that my time with him yesterday morning was particularly sweet. After going to Mass with Dad & Gloria (a place where they ‘live’) we came home and had a nice breakfast together. After breakfast Gloria went and did her own thing and Dad I chatted and soon ended up looking up football trivia on my computer, which led to looking at all sorts of things on my computer. At some level, I realized today that is one of the main place I “live” – here in cyberspace – and I felt like my Dad got that as he asked me about Facebook, we looked at family pictures (on his grandchildren’s Facebook pages and on my hard drive), we discussed my rate of return on my investments and I ran a little Quicken report to verify it, etc.
I realized this morning that just as my father felt “seen” by me in the wee gifts I brought him (a Norway/America baseball cap and a box of Pro Vee golf balls that I have to credit my friend Bill with picking out for me – a HUGE hit!), I felt “seen” by him as we jumped from thing to thing online or on my computer.
Similarly, I asked my new friend Sara if she wanted to come out and hang out in “the land beyond O’Hare” (the Chicago Tribune once referred to the suburbs where I live in that manner and I’ve used that phrase ever since to friends in the city – I think it IS how they think of where I live!). I realized this morning that the plans I had in mind are perfect for me, and good for showing a new friend “where I live”- not so much in the visceral sense (though I always like having people to my house, as it IS one of the primary places where my soul hangs out) – but in the sense of ‘me-ness’. And that is, driving around, soaking in beauty. It occurred to me this morning that not everyone has the great love of “poking around” as my friend Sue calls it, that I do and that perhaps I should check that out.
But then I was thinking, with a new friend it’s nice to see where one another lives – in both the visceral addresss-laden sense of the book I gave Isla, and in the “deep heart’s core” (nod to Yeats) that I am thinking of. So rather than feel myself a bad host or friend, I’m thinking more along the lines of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” A way of being more conscious about the ways in which we all get to know one another more.
While there are MANY places I live the ones that are top of mind to me this morning include nature, writing (a BIG place for me), my computer, in my car driving around, meditation, family, and places where God seems to be hiding (retreats, spiritually based groups/activities).
How about you? If we had an analogous Big Girl/Big Boy book to the one I gave Isla called “Where Does Your Heart/Soul Live?” what would you put on the little fill-in-the-blank pages at the back of the book?