On the Search for Home

I am having a little trouble landing on a name, a theme, a focal point for this as yet nebulous nonprofit idea we’ve been discussing here the last few weeks. There needs to be one, clearly, for reasons like the previous sentence. Trouble is, even though (thanks in part to some of you) I now have a better idea of what I want to do with this aforementioned nebulous nonprofit idea (NNI), I’m still having a hard time narrowing it down in such a way that I can name it, and furthermore, pitch it.

So, since it turns out The Readership makes a helpful sounding board, I am going to pitch some of my thoughts at you, and maybe you can help me figure out how to wrap the thing up nicely for easier conversation. (Also to help my lawyer friend with the whole pursuit-of-nonprofit-status thing. It turns out government entities like to know what your company is doing when you hope not to have to pay taxes on it.)

Let’s start with the Displacement idea. I guess this is still a pretty major factor in my thinking, and if I sat and thought about it long enough, I could probably say that almost everything of significance I’ve ever done in my life has had at least a kernel of the impulse to help people (including myself) face and make meaning and even transformation out of whatever was going on in our lives that left us feeling displaced. In my experience, most humans have a sense of disconnect, of not quite being Home. I guess I think that’s because we’re not, and I hope that the NNI (yep–I guess that’s what we’re calling it until it has another name by which to “smell more sweet”) will be a safe place for people who are conscious enough of feeling displaced to want to do something about it. I don’t expect (nor want) the NNI to be Home–I think Home is Jesus, to be honest–but I guess I would like it to be a safe way station for those on quest to stop and refresh themselves, to get to know other travelers, to come back to from time to time, or to stay as long as they like. I imagine something like Elrond’s home in The Hobbit–the Last Homely House. (If my Paul and I ever do start up a retreat centre of our own, I call dibs on that name, okay? But I’m not sure that’s the right name for a ministry that doesn’t have a fixed physical location. Or is it? What do you think?)

Rivendell, as painted by its creator, JRR Tolkien

Rivendell, as painted by its creator, JRR Tolkien

I don’t see the NNI as the goal of the quest or the restoration of Home, and I certainly hope it doesn’t turn into yet another “comfort zone” for people to get stuck in. But life is tough and I know I’ve needed–at various points in mine–places to take a breather, or regain my bearings, or touch base with other travelers to know I wasn’t alone, or even to stock up on tools, supplies, resources to go the next few steps. Maybe other people could use that, too. And maybe, even though I’m not at the end of my pilgrimage either, at this point along it, I have some things to offer, by and in the grace of God.

Such is the first image I associate with this gradually forming plan. But it isn’t the only one. I’ll tell you about the others in the next few posts.


7 thoughts on “On the Search for Home

  1. Interesting stuff, here. A couple biblical images I associate with the thoughts above: 1) The transfiguration. My favorite part of that story is how Jesus takes a few disciples up, they see all this cool stuff, and it’s almost like they want to take up residence there. Jesus puts his normal, human face back on, though, and kicks their butts down the mountain, back into the world of ordinary stuff. 2) Mountain tops in general, biblically. I am think one of Eli-prophets. (–Jah? –Shah? I always confuse them.) went up and had his nervous break-down/heart to heart with God; Moses met with God there; and of course, the above-mentioned transfiguration. Mountain tops seem to be these places we temporarily leave the mundane world for, so we can have these intense moments with God, and then we are expected to go back into the world. 3) The exodus story, the time in the desert. It is of course, all symbolic of our story too: in some sense we are taken care of by God, but we are nomads, longing for something that will be our true home.

    • NICE parallels. Yeah, I land on the Elijah story a lot in my life. There’s something about drawing from the Bible stories that I want to try to unpack in one of these imagery/name posts, too, so stay tuned.

      I think I hope whatever it is I/we offer is more consistent than a “mountain top experience,” but there might be something oasis-like about it (Exodus), and spiritual direction is ALL about helping someone slow down enough to be silent and hear God’s voice (Elijah–still small voice or, as the translation of that story that I like says, “a sound of sheer silence”), and then help them notice what they’re hearing and how they’re processing it. It’s kind of like a spotter for a really intense gymnastics move … which might be yet another image!

      Thanks for helping me think this stuff out, Jeff.

  2. My first thought was of geocaching. Are you familiar? You find boxes by coordinates. When you find the box, you take something from it, and leave something behind.

    Maybe your way station can be like this. It reminds me of the story of the sermon on the mount. I know the popular thought is that Jesus made food and drink appear out of nothing. But perhaps also it was the people there sharing what they had, rather than hide it.

    Maybe your non-profit can be an environment for such sharing.

    • What a cool parallel! That sharing dynamic is definitely what I hope for, but I haven’t actually done any geocaching, and thus never in a million years would that analogy have occurred to me. (I mean, unless at some point in that million years I started geocaching, I guess!) But I like it. That’s a really good one. Thanks, Eli.

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