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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

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May 19, 2024



It’s been one year since we began calling this place home. When we moved in, the mimosa tree was in full bloom with its fragrant, fluffy blossoms. We’ve watched it go through all the seasons, shedding continually on our patio until the branches were bare. Now spring has returned, and the blossoms seemed to burst out overnight. I walk out my bedroom door onto the patio and the fragrance sweeps over me, accompanied by the chorus of birds. It’s like a breath of heaven.


The meditations in Simple Abundance this month are focused on home – how we create, experience, and care for the space in which we live. Emily Dickinson said, “Home is the definition of God.” Whatever dwelling we call home holds not only our bodies, but our souls.  “The House of Belonging is not just a place. It is a presence—your authentic presence in your own life and your own home” (Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance).


As I look back on the homes we’ve built, created, cared for, owned, and rented, I see how each one reflected the season we were in and the life we were living. From apartment to townhome to house, to another house, and back to apartment again before returning to a house…..we have experienced the ebb and flow of life. Our homes have held us through times of birth, growth, transition, release, pandemic, and death. I’ve cherished each home and treated it with love and care. In return, each one has wrapped us in its arms of protection and peace, providing a safe haven from the world.


When we walk through our front door we should be able to leave the stresses and strains of the outside world. A home should provide us with a sanctuary for the soul, a haven for the senses (Jane Alexander, quoted in Simple Abundance).


Our homes are also an expression of who we are, what we love, where we’ve been…the experiences and pieces of our lives. Now that we are back in a house, I have room for the drop-leaf table from my childhood home, the antique wooden rocker that my father refinished, one of my mother’s oil paintings, and many other family keepsakes that I had been storing. These treasures bring me a sense of comfort and wholeness, connecting me to the home and family from which I came. I realize I am fortunate to have grown up in a loving, safe, and stable home, which is not the case for many. Either way, as adults we get to choose how we create and nurture our own homes, no matter how humble they may be.


Creating a comfortable, beautiful, well-run home can be among our most satisfying accomplishments as well as an illuminating spiritual experience (Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance).


Brother Lawrence wrote about how he experienced the presence of God while washing the dishes at the monastery. This often returns to my mind as I clean up the kitchen and fold the laundry. The awareness of God in all my surroundings, tasks, and activities has been cultivated through gratitude and joy. It’s harder when I’m tired and short on patience. Brother Lawrence and others have taught me to find the sacred in the ordinary, and to experience it in every aspect of Home. “We simply know that our daily round is how we live. When we clean and order our homes, we are somehow cleaning and ordering ourselves. How we hold the simplest of tasks speaks loudly about how we hold life itself” (Gunilla Norris, Being Home).


Growing older has brought me greater awareness of the sacredness of life itself. I’ve learned to hold things and people loosely (which is hard with the people we love). Every season brings change and loss and growth. Letting go again and again softens our grip and teaches us to live “lighter.” I have discovered along the way that simplicity and abundance are soulmates. As I create and nurture a haven of peace, order, beauty, and joy within me, it is reflected in my “house of belonging.” I am home.


Grace & Gratitude,

ej

Elisa J. Juarez


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