Monday, August 03, 2009

Rooted and Grounded

I am back home. Home, for me, is the Midwest. In general. Specifically, it's Ohio and Indiana. Ohio is where I grew up and it is still home to me in a way that is very spiritual and yet somehow undefinable. I have been gone from there now more years (barely) than I lived there, but whenever I cross the Ohio-Indiana line and see the arch proclaiming "Welcome to Ohio" or hear Karin Berqquist sing "Ohio" ("I know Ohio like the back of my hand") a sense of melancholy homecoming settles over me.

Just as real, but less melancholic, was the feeling I had flying into Indianapolis yesterday after almost 12 days in Colorado and New Mexico.

Those were glorious days -- vistas that can barely be imagined. In Colorado, I visited my sister Julie and her husband Dave who now live in Montrose. Julie has wanted to live in Colorado ever since she and I were there at Young Life's Silver Cliff Ranch in the late 70s (she as a kid and me as a leader). She says (and I have no reason to doubt her -- knowing both my younger and older self) that as my youngest sister I made her go. But she loved it. And now she and Dave live there. We visited Black Canyon, Ridgway, Ouray and other fascinating places. I took a ton of photographs.

Likewise in Santa Fe and Chimayo. Skies wide open, wispy cloud formations, amazingly colorful desert flowers. What great light.

But. But in the same way that St. Paul tells us that we are to be "rooted and grounded" in [Christ's] love so that we might be filled with the fullness of God, I find that I am rooted and grounded in the Midwestern soil. It speaks to my soul with its lush greenness, multiplicity of flowers and grasses, tall trees, and manageable vistas.

Likewise its people -- generally polite, often understated (if asked how something was, we'll say "Pretty good" or "Not bad" as a high compliment), deeply spiritual -- even if we disagree about what it means to be spiritual. These people, like the land at its best, reflect the goodness of God's love. At our worst, we are like a wicked tornado, shredding everything in our path (and some of that has gone on, I hear, among a gathering of -- of all people -- Quakers this week. I am glad I was in New Mexico for that!).

Regardless. These are my people. This is my home. This is my vision of Heaven -- both here on earth and in Eternity. Good hearted women and men rejoicing (though subtly) in the blessings of God, land abundant and fertile, life a wee bit slower (when I allow it to be), and God feeling near.

I am rooted and grounded in this place.

I hope you feel that way about your place. God be praised. And it's good to be home.

-- Brent

1 comment:

Robin M. said...

What a blessing to know where you are grounded. I have part of that same sense in the Salinas Valley of California. I was born there, I came to consciousness there, when I go through I still feel like this is what scenery is supposed to look like. But I don't know anybody there. My family only lived there for the first ten years of my life and we have no roots there. It's disconcerting when I think about that, also each time I go through it.