Life delights in life, said William Blake. It’s rare to find friends to share a mutual joie de vivre, and I am blessed with two: Carol Anne and Alessandra. Whenever we share our thoughts about beauty, philosophy, theology, or literature over a sunrise cup of coffee, I’m consistently encouraged by their deep sense of wonder, firm conviction of life’s beauty, and unwavering understanding that the whole world is charged with meaning.
When I am discouraged, I am thankful for reminders of grace that come in the form of encouraging friends. In the trying few weeks that I have been facing, I’ve been given some light and some hope–God’s tangible love in human form–from these two wonderful women. They remind me of what is important, even among the rocks. Every Friday morning we meet at Birch Coffee, just north of Madison Square Park. Lately, our conversation has been about place and home.
There are few words that can capture the heart-wrenching longing a single, fleeting thought of home can stir in our hearts. We can’t adequately describe exactly what home is, but we all know what it looks like when we see it because it dwells so deeply in our hearts. Home is more than the place where we lay our heads or store our books. Home has something to do with a proper longing for how our lives ought be ordered physically, centering on the material place where we spend most of our out-of-work time. Home is where we rest, re-charge, practice hospitality, share meals, reflect.
Moving to NYC often demands a trade-off: a home for a life in the city. Right now, I’m learning how to make the place I live a home. It’s far too easy to make excuses and never grow into the building you go to when the day turns to night. Because the city is so volatile, many people never actually move into the place that they live. They plan to move a year after they sign the lease to their first apartment, but suddenly six years have passed and they’re still at the same address – and still haven’t unpacked their suitcase.
Since moving back to NYC I’ve made the conscious effort to unpack everything that I brought with me – no matter how long or short I might be here. My favorite picture frames that line the walls of my room are surrounded by decorative mirrors, curtains drape across the high window next to my bed, the bookshelf is stocked with antique hardcovers arranged by color. My room in the apartment has not become a home yet. And even though the desire to make my own home gnaws at the back of my heart stronger than I’ve ever felt it before, I am at peace. I long to have a home where people can gather, where my cooking pans and utensils are all together in one place. This will come in good time, but for now I’m making the most of the cubic content that I’ve been given.