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July 4, 2015

I am in the middle of a significant relocation – a cross-continent, cross-border relocation – that involves major upheaval, reams of paperwork, long periods of waiting, and unintended contemplation about the meaning of “home.”

I’ve become accustomed to calling two places home: the place where I happen to be living and the place where I grew up. But for the first time in 30 years, these two places have merged.  For this season, I am settled in my mother’s house. It’s the place where my mom still tends an amazing perennial garden and where she welcomes me with open arms.

In this process, I have discovered that when I am truly home, no matter where I am living, it includes all of my senses.  Right now, this includes seeing the familiar people and sights of my home town, tasting the strawberries and beef steak tomatoes that only really grow in South Western Ontario, sharing hugs with old friends, the smell of fresh coffee as we sit outback with the neighbours and chat, hearing the wonderful silence of a summer evening, and enduring the early bird’s wake up calls every morning.

But the sounds that are resonating most deeply in my heart are the intangible, almost indescribable elements of how it feels to find “home” in unexpected places, at unexpected times. These are “sounds” that you can hear anywhere, but which sometimes need outside amplification:

The deep knowledge that you are loved.

The recognition of surprising companions who are willing to journey with you.

The echo of places and people who may not be physically present, but whose presence is felt nonetheless.

The joy of the adventure of life lived to the full every day.

An abiding peacefulness despite the chaos.

These are home-ing, heart sounds – the beacons that call us into relationships and keep us connected to the places we call home. They are critically important, especially in times of transition. As you play and process this week, I pray that you will be able to tune in to your own “sounds of home.”

Antonin Dvorak

Symphony #9 “From the New World”

London Symphony Orchestra, István Kertész, conducting

This symphony contains a well-known oboe solo that is often called “Going Home.”

George Gershwin

An American in Paris

LA Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, conducting

The sounds of places that are far from home.

Steve Bell

Home (lyrics)

Hear Our Prayer (lyrics)

One of my favourite Steve Bell lyrics: “. . . home is anywhere he leads me . . .”