Another Welcome Home
Home. It can find you in many places. Like today, for instance. All day, I was defining home as this lovely house that I live in. “Should I go out for coffee or just stay home?” I thought to myself. I filled out an application online and they asked for my home number. I knew which one they meant – it traveled along a cable and entered my phone through a hole in the exterior wall of my kitchen, into my home.
Sometimes home is Milwaukee where I grew up in, and where my entire family lives still. I’ve been deciding when I’ll go home this summer for our annual family retreat weekend.
Tonight I experienced another home, one that I had forgotten was a vital part of my weave. It was my graduate school, JFK University. I have been attending JFKU since the fall of 2006, and I’ve come a long way since the first term, when I was shocked we were actually meditating in class. Now I’m upset if the meditation is too short.Traditional courses in developmental psychology, along with ancestral studies, terrapsychology, and paradigms of consciousness have profoundly altered the way I interact with the world.
I’ve taken time away from the school lately because of my extensive book tour. So when I walked into my class on Sufism and Tim and Carissa welcomed me with their huge smiles, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of coming home. Sitting between them in our small semicircle of five students, I had to hold back my impulse to hug them each tightly, and ask them everything about their lives. When we did have a chance to talk, I was moved by their open energy, their candid expression of their feelings about break ups and recoveries. Standing at the exit after class, I hugged Tiffany and made plans to see her this week, and saw Keith in the distance outside.
When I started grad school I was intimidated by my differences with my fellow students. They were a group of brilliant, soulful, single, twenty and thirty-somethings. They went to grad school and did non-profit work. I was a recent stay-at-home mom serving lunch at my kids’ school. They had undergraduate degrees in Psychology. I had a degree in Retail Management. They came to class in soft-soled shoes and flowing blouses and t-shirts. I wore heels and business attire. They meditated. I wrestled cattle. But while I was busy wondering if I had landed in the wrong program, they were busy embracing me. Never once did they judge my different lifestyle. They listened to my random input in the classroom, and in turn, helped me to listen to myself. Plus they gave me a whole new gaggle of people to nurture. These were the students who had gently escorted me to my next phase of life three years ago.
Tonight I learned that they will all be graduating in June. I became terribly sad. Not because I will take another year – I knew I was on a slower track due to my career, parenting and book tour. I became sad because I only get their love, their intellectual sparring, and their humor for the next six months. In many ways I feel like I am at my best in this circle of friends.
And that is where I found home tonight.