I spent the first part of the trip longing to feel something homey. Since I couldn’t go back to the house where I grew up, I decided that I was looking for something similar to my grandmother’s house. My grandmother specialized in making people feel special. When I was little my grandmother made endless chicken and rise dinners along with a dozen other German-Russian treats for me and my sister. I also remember many afternoons swimming in the local swimming pool, watching Lawrence Welk on the television, reading everything, and playing the organ. Time with grandma and grandpa made me feel comfortable.
I stayed in Calgary for a little too long due to unforseen circumstances. Reverse culture shock was definitely a thing that I was feeling. I felt like the beauty I so fondly remembered was nowhere to be seen. The people had changed too. All of us were twenty five years older which was making worse in the endeavor to find something home-like.
The other part of this story is that I ended up in the hospital for a while, and I just wanted to not eat hospital food and say goodbye to the endless round of nurses and doctors. I was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder. I did have a moment when the hospital was serving snap peas as a side dish with supper. I was suddenly lost in memories of picking snap peas from my grandmother’s garden many yeas ago. It was an episode in settled happiness and security which we all desire.
C.S. Lewis write in The Problem of Pain, “God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment. He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstacy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or football match, have no such tendency. Our father refreshes us on the journey with some
Was my quest for home pointless? Was I searching for something that did not exist? While C.S. Lewis makes an excellent point about not resting our hearts in this world, I was still looking for something home-like. It provides some clues to my own happiness, which is good for my soul.
Lewis talks about a landscape as a pleasant inn. On my father’s property, I had a magnificent view of the mountains on clear days. I spent more than a few evenings looking at the sunset and enjoying the view. It was really breathe-taking. A pleasant inn for my soul.
Another clue came when I went to visit my mother. There was a beautiful park about a two minute walk from her home. There were beautiful shops full of paintings, carvings, jewelry, and clothing. The paintings were done by local artists along with the carvings (my uncle was one of the carvers). The jewelry was very Victorian. Some of the clothes were very vintage. But the best part of that trip was just spending time with my mother in her house. It felt like spending time with Grandma.
My mother is in the early stage of dementia. Despite this, she keeps in good humor about her family, her life, and her many knitting projects. It was good to be around her and her creative energy.
The elements of finding home are there. The pleasant inns included landscape, creativity, and being around caring people. It was in the landscape. I love the Rocky Mountain View and the beautiful park in Moose Jaw. It was the creativity energy. My own chosen art is this blog, and a myriad of small writing projects, but I loved the paintings, carvings, and jewelry that I saw. It was also being around beautiful, caring people. My mother really knows how to do that. I was there to take care of her, but she ended up taking care of me.
And maybe that was the biggest clue in finding home. Finding people who wanted to care for you in whatever limited way that they can. Home is where there is love.