"Traveler, there is no road, the road is made by walking."
"Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado, Campos de Castilla
I've long loved songs about home:
• Daughtry, Home
• Bon Jovi, Who Says You Can't Go Home Again?
• Ohana Bam, All Roads Lead Home
• Phillip Phillips, Home
• Al Stewart, Time Passages—"Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight."
My header art is the beach house I visited a few times many summers ago. Although something very urban, probably inner-city would be my preferred long-term dwelling place, the frame house where you stepped out the door onto the sand symbolizes at home with myself and with what I imagined I'd be doing a whole lot of my life.
Without a doubt, you can't be home with yourself if you don't have at least a small tribe, at least the semblance of a village. But equally, finding the intersection of your passions, gifts, skills, and (yes, per the late Frederick Buechner) the world's needs is essential for anyone's overall well-being. I find Buechner's belief our deep gladness might meet the world's deep needs a bit over the top idealistic, so in general I prefer to paraphrase Howard Thurman, "Don't ask what the world needs; ask what brings you to life, because the world needs people who are fully alive."
Three summers in a row I spent a week at the beach house friends rented every year and always generously invited many others to join them. Every year I drove back to the city Sunday afternoon. As fun as the beach week was, my anticipation on the road back was even better!
I spent Monday with the usual grocery restocking, laundry, haircut, getting reacquainted with neighbors and delighting again in the restless urban commotion I'd fallen in love with as a little kid. I gloried in reclaiming the noisiness and the needs that had led me to dedicate my life to beautifying the city.
After Monday came Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday—final preparation for the annual two-week long community event the church sponsored to meet some neighborhood needs, advertise our congregation as a welcome place, and help our ongoing discernment about what we could do more of and do better. Between regular season programming and our summer special, I'd found my jam. In terms of this week's prompt, neighborhood ministry was the road I'd be walking.
At my current crisis point (remember, the pictogram for crisis illustrates both danger and opportunity), I've kept looking back and wondering why that road never continued. I knew about detours and dead ends…who doesn't? I also knew and still know many urban, rural, and suburban churches do a lot to engage the geographical area (parish, ward, whatever terminology works for you) surrounding their campus with activities others can't or simply don't provide.
At my current crisis point I want to get back on the street evangelism / community outreach road. I long to find the road home again. I need to rediscover and walk that road.