The Peace of Home
Editor’s note: Towards the end of 2014 Ryan Wood attended an Artist’s Retreat at Laity Lodge on scholarship from Art House Dallas. The following post is a reflection of his time there.
When I was a senior in High School I moved across the country to live on a small farm with my mother's parents. I recall many things about that transition, but the number of family reunions that I attended during that year still stands out.
I met cousins several times removed, aunts and uncles with whom I have only the most tenuous common relations, and people that I am sure were just friendly neighbors who wanted to attend a party with free food and drink.
The common thread that wove each of these events together in the tapestry of my memory is a sense of being home. These people were complete strangers that needed introduction, but I felt like I was home when I was with them.
Although I moved so much as a boy that it is hard to pin one particular place as home, I still have a strong associated feeling with that word. There is a sense of belonging and welcome. Home is a place where, although I may not own the mug I'm drinking from, I still have a sense that it is mine. Everyone leaves their keys on the counter in case a car needs to be moved, and it's okay to root around in the fridge for a mid-day snack.
Home is a place where I don't need to prove my worth by résumé or accomplishments because I'm validated as a member of the family. Home is a place where there is no rush in the conversation, and sharing a pot of coffee on the back deck is a good use of time.
The weekend before I went on retreat to Laity Lodge I flew out west to look at some business opportunities. It was a place that I had lived in before and I have wanted to move back for almost two decades. During the trip I discovered the financial opportunity was there, but I couldn't get past a sense that I was not welcome. It is hard to quantify, but I just felt like I was crashing someone else's family reunion. The following weekend at Laity Lodge was a response to that turn of events.
I felt at home during my stay at Laity, and that is exactly what I needed. My family is in the middle of yet another transition. Our business is closing our retail location after economic difficulties and we are looking to God for our next steps. Honestly I would have been ecstatic to wake one morning to literal handwriting on the wall of our dorm but it didn't happen. And I'm okay with that.
There is a song I sang as a child that talked about a peace that passeth understanding, and during my time at Laity I felt that great peace despite the remaining questions about specific direction in our family. That peace, I am convinced, comes from spending a weekend just "being" with spiritual family.
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