Lessons, then and now.


I love koels. They’re not so much to look at, just a non-descript medium sized black bird, but their calls do something to my soul. They remind me of our first days in the jungle house in Goa, sitting on the porch, listening to the new strange sounds all around me, and the night that is never quiet. For a time, there, I thought I would die of homesickness. But I didn’t die, and I have found a sort of home in the world.

But back then, with all my little children, so cute and sticky, I studied the hard lesson of finding a home in myself. This is a lesson that continued, even now, with all the teenagers. With the terse language and independence, with the support of tall people. How to make a meal, offer something, perhaps be rejected, and then come back home to dwell inside my own house, my skin and bones and muscles. 

Not that my kids reject me. They’re the kindest people I know. It’s the shifting landscape of need that I find tricky. They need me in different ways. And I see the gaps in their experience, the ways we have not been all they need, and I can only pray that grace fills all the holes.

It’s no use to wish yourself different. I think the Internet is bad for this. A few hours on Facebook can have you wondering why you are the way you are, why life seems so effortless for everyone else. It has you second-guessing yourself as a parent, friend, human being. Other people seem to relax more, be less introverted, less intense. 

Come back to yourself. Sit easily here, you are made as you are, and you are allowed to be that particular bird, with your own call, sitting in your own tree. No one is as easy as you may perceive. We all wonder how to make our mouths do the right thing sometimes. (Is this a smile? Or am I grimacing again. Which words are meant to come out next?) 

God comes home to himself on a day of rest. He creates and then sits and regards his work. He makes a way for us to be at home in ourselves. At rest in creation, walking the woods, listening to birds, marveling at the veins under our skin.


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