Thursday, November 23, 2006

Home for the Holidays

From "The Journals of Alexander Schmemann" Friday December 14, 1973
I love my home, and to leave home and be away overnight is always like dying--returning seems so very far away! I am always full of joy when I think about home. All homes, with lit windows behind which people live, give me infinite pleasure. I would love to enter each of them, to feel its uniqueness, the quality of its warmth. Each time I see a man or a woman walking with shopping bags, that is, going home, I think about them: they are going home, to real life, and I feel good, and they become somehow close and dear. I am always intrigued: What do people 'do' when they do not 'do' anything, when they just live? That's when life becomes important, when their fate is determined. Simple bourgeois happiness is often despised by activists of all sorts who quite often do not realize the depth of life itself; who think that life is an accumulation of activities. God gives us His Life, not ideas, doctrines, rules. At home, when all is done, life itself begins.

5:17 glowing in my blurred and stuffy vision and one of them fussing in the other room. Pillow under arm stumbling across the hall knocking over the one year old fussing. Nigh Nigh. Five minutes fussing and kicking the neighbors's wall. No: it's still nigh nigh time. Dozing to more fussing but now there's a light under the blinds. That raspy little voice: Juuuuuuse? Now snuggling on the couch, mussy hair and a warm little body in crazy striped tights. Who put you to bed in that? Quiet. The house is clean and that makes it easier to be at rest. And the windows lighten. Mukk? Stillness broken by a fridge light, click the oven light, hot water started, mukk from the fridge, and might as well get the cereal in my Foggy Head Routine. Is it foggy again; no, I can see lights. Wipe the windows and rattle them open. Crisp, Cold, clears my eyes out. Some tea for my head. Eating sounds behind me and a comfortable chair to enjoy the view. An extended pause for this is good air to be breathing.

Christ was homeless not because He despised simple happiness--He did have a childhood, family, home--but because He was at home everywhere in the world, which His Father created as the "home" of man. "Peace be with this house." We have our home and God's home, the Church, and the deepest experience of the Church is that of a home. Always the same and, above anything else, life itself--the Liturgy, evening, morning, a feast--and not an activity.

No comments: