Re-entry is something we know how to do well or at least we have a routine that suits us well. In less than an hour after returning from a trip, whether we have been gone two weeks or two days, our suitcases are unpacked and put away, and the washing machine is humming. We have gone through the stack of mail, watered the plants, listened to voice mail messages, and have made ourselves at home once again. I am aware that all these homecoming tasks are part of making a transition from vacation time or travel time to our every day life. Others may prefer to unpack gradually, leaving the suitcase open and removing items as they need them, but I want to settle back in, re-bond with home base, and pick up where I left off before the time away.
Margaret Guenther in her Walking Home, From Eden to Emmaus, which is my Lenten guidebook this season, reminds me, however, that just because fresh laundry is ready to be folded and stacked, I am not really home.
"...we are all just travelers plodding toward our own Jerusalem." (p. 108)
What seems like my home is actually only temporary. An inn. This inn is comfortable and attractive and is equipped with everything I need to feel welcome. In fact, we have ongoing reservations here--a room is always ready and waiting. True, we're the innkeepers for ourselves, and there is only milk in the refrigerator if I have left it waiting for us, and I am the maid who makes sure there are fresh sheets and towels. Some inns are better than others, but this one is clean and hospitable, and in no time we feel at home.
But it is just an inn, a way station, and eventually, it is time to move on.
No, I'm not really home, and my true identity is as a traveler, always moving towards Home, no matter where I am or what I am doing. I may encounter pleasant detours and at times I may choose the wrong route and need to turn around. Flights may be delayed or cancelled, and interruptions and frustrations may confound me. Traveling companions may not always be pleasant, and sometimes I may feel unsure or even frightened, but nonetheless, I am moving towards Jerusalem. Is there something I want to do, feel compelled to do or places I want to experience? Is there work, inner work, I need to do?
Well, I better get moving, for the signposts all indicate there aren't as many miles to Jerusalem as there used to be.