I made it back to the Atlantic Ocean this week! 🙂 I am on the road performing – started in Cordova, TN (outside of Memphis); had a day to drive 840 miles for a concert in Warminster, PA (outside of Philly); scooched over to Vineland, NJ, and a day later drove another 840 miles to Chicagoland where I am now. Luckily, David Langley is with me, and he is doing all of the driving, so it’s been a fun and insightful trip (and musically very, very enjoyable!).
Usually, I don’t take time off when I’m on a tour. If we aren’t visiting with our hosts, there is always office work to be done. But we were so close to the Ocean that I couldn’t possibly avoid a short detour. Plus, David had never been to the legendary Atlantic City Boardwalk.
We had a wonderful lunch overlooking the ocean… and talked about God, faith, history, and the importance of finding a ‘spiritual home’… (David has been on a beautiful faith journey and was looking for a church where he would feel a sense of belonging.)
I answered David’s questions with a disclaimer that my thoughts and my experience of God and the Divine are my own – I believe that each of us is on a unique spiritual path and that God is present and available to all. I tried to be sensitive about not influencing him with my opinions.
I looked at the Ocean, which reminded me that while each of us needs some space to be alone and still with God – out there where there are no distractions – we also need each other to survive the storms.
It’s important we have a community where we can experience “God in skin,” where we feel accepted and comfortable to show up ‘as is’ – at times filled with joy and at times broken with sadness and grief. Humans need a ‘village’ as a support system that will carry us through stressful times and make us casseroles (or salads) when we aren’t able to make them ourselves. 😉 And in a community, we learn how to reach out to others and take care of those in need.
When I was growing up, my ‘village’ was my family (we all lived very close to each other) and my neighborhood. When I moved to America, I realized it was different here. People move away from their families and everything is a lot farther apart than in Europe. So a lot of people find their ‘village’ in their faith communities (or for us immigrants, in cultural clubs), which sometimes takes away an opportunity to be exposed to different cultures and faiths.
I grew up in a country where religion and faith were very private. We didn’t know who was Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish or atheist. My friends and I were guided by the very same principles of loving God and our neighbor as ourselves (which we learned at home). We didn’t look for what could have divided and separated us from each other. Our traditions helped us build a strong sense of community, and our history helped us to keep in mind how destructive divisions, greed for power and fear of each other can be. (Croatia is located in a part of the world where Christianity split in 1054, and where many battles with Ottoman Empire were fought in the 15th and 16th centuries.)
I guess that’s probably why I’ve always been drawn to Franciscan spirituality… I’ve always liked that they, like us on this tour, travelled around, stayed with people, shared of themselves and broke bread.
To be able to have a ‘village’ and a community – and an open heart that sees God’s presence in every part of God’s creation – is to find our spiritual home.
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