February 17, 2008
I always get emotional about leaving a place that has been home for a time - however short that time may have been. Today may have been something of a personal best in this respect... I was walking away from a quiet little monastery in the woods near Gatwick, which had been 'home' for a mere 72 hours - my suitcase trundling rather noisily behind me along the tarmac path - and sure enough the familiar 'leaving pang' crept up on me yet again. Surely I was going home, not leaving home? Yes, I was going home and looking forward to it, but I wonder - is the leaving pang a whispered reminder that no earthly home can ever be more than a port of call?
I think what happened was that the retreat enabled me to slip in to the corner of the heart where I can pray, and that's home in a different sense altogether. I can but visit it now and then and come away again, restored and refreshed for the work I've been given to do "until it's time to come home for good" (to quote a line I read at the monastery which really made me smile).
So I'm left with the question, what is home? Is it the 'cave of the heart', the rare hallowed ground, often sought, occasionally found (even Captain Scott's irresistible 'White South', as mentioned by another Knight recently)? Or is it the security of base camp, where fellow-travellers report back, swap adventure stories and support each other's seeking?
Which leads me to another, slightly more tongue-in-cheek question: as so-called Knights of the Round Table, are we actually supposed to be out there hunting for Holy Grails at all? Didn't see it mentioned in the job description... but maybe that's what some of us are up to in the intervals between rather infrequent reports!
Posted by Andrew at February 17, 2008 02:46 PM