Sunday, November 11, 2007

Home, Home, Where I Wanted to Go

Where is home? I've wondered where home is, and I realized, it's not Mars or someplace like that, it's Indianapolis when I was nine years old. I had a brother and a sister, a cat and a dog, and a mother and a father and uncles and aunts. And there's no way I can get there again.
-Kurt Vonnegut (author and crackpot...good quote though)

There are things you just can't do in life. You can't beat the phone company, you can't make a waiter see you until he's ready to see you, and you can't go home again.
-Bill Bryson

As the Indiana State Trooper came up to the window with his aviator sunglasses, carefully polished shirt buttons, stiff hat, and generally pissed demeanor, the only thing I could think was, "I wonder if this unplanned stop will make me late for Eucharistic Adoration..." This past weekend, I traveled via a rented PT Cruiser (aka "the cruiser") back to Champaign Urbana to see my good friends. At St. John's this weekend, the 95th Koinonia retreat took place. Koinonia is the Greek word for community, and this is a retreat program that I had been heavily involved in at the Newman Center. I spent a great deal of time, prayer and love in Koinonia, and in return, Koinonia helped me develop spiritually into the adult Catholic I am today. I met some of my greatest friends here. Many I love remain heavily involved in the program. And that, dear reader, makes me happy.

I left Kentucky in the early afternoon, Friday, bound for St. John's and those I love. I quickly figured out that if I traveled...expeditiously in the cruiser, I could arrive at St. John's just in time for Eucharistic Adoration. For those of you who may not know what that is, Adoration is a time when the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, is exposed in a monstrance and Catholics come to pray and be in the presence of Christ. The best way I can describe it to you is like meeting your most dear friend, a friend who knows you better than you know yourself, and having a long, wonderful conversation. The priest then comes out and does Eucharistic Benediction, where he blesses those present with the monstrance containing the Eucharist, and the Divine Praises are sung along with ceremonial songs. I had not been to Adoration since I was last in Champaign in July. And I SORELY miss it. Last year, I went almost every day along with Daily Mass. It was in Adoration that I realized I was coming to CAP, in addition to several other important directions in life. The Eucharist is the focal point of a Catholic's life, it is central in my life. I made it to Champaign just in time, despite the...detour in Indiana.

After Adoration, a large group of us participated in the Stations of the Cross for the retreatants. Stations of the Cross is a portrayal of the Passion and death of Christ. I played the part of traditional role. And I was meant for the stage, let me tell you. I got to see Andy and Frodo, along with so many others. After stations were over, Will, Katie, B-Gor, Bambi and I went out to Crane Ally to meet up with my good friend who I haven't seen in a while, beer. And, just my luck, they had my favorite beer, "Robert the Bruce" made by the Three Floyd's Brewery, on tap! I also had a Victory beer called "Hop Devil' which was so hoppy it would even make Dave squint. It was great to be back in Urbana, to see Fever, go to my old room, the kitchen with the piles of dishes, the couches, the porch. It was strange, almost as if I did not leave. I almost started to do the dishes and shoot Will with a nerf gun...but I found myself unarmed and without any will to do dishes.

This was my first time back to Champaign since coming to Cap. It was an odd experience, and a wonderful one. It got me thinking about where my home actually is. Home for me will always be where my parents live, near the city by the lake, the place where I was born. But in many ways, home is also Fever, it remains to be Fever to this day. It is the cornfields south of campus, the Psych building, the Blind Pig, and of course the 8th pew back on the left side of St. John's Catholic Chapel. In many ways, the Jackson House is starting to become my home... if it isn't already. After you leave college, you are, in many respects, homeless. You have certain places where you keep all your stuff, and where you lay your head at night, but the spirit of home leaves you for a little while. There are many...many people who I saw this weekend that I wish I could go back to seeing on a daily basis. I miss seeing John in Daily Mass, video games with Andy and Will, Mass with Fr. Robert, coffee with Dave, movies, corn mazes, campus, and class with too many people to be listed here . It was almost as if I didn't want to leave Champaign, but knew it was not right for me to stay there either. As Monseigneur says, "My autobiography will be called, 'Everybody Leaves.'" And, I guess that's true.

As I drove down 74 and back into Kentucky, hope was rekindled in me. I knew that I have something to do down here, with CAP, before the end, and that I mean to see it through. I feel that this is the right place for me, volunteering, but that fact really didn't make leaving any easier.


Now Listening to: Nickel Creek, "Why Should the Fire Die?"
Now Watching: Big Fish
Now Reading: The Two Towers
Now Wearing: Illinois t-shirt

don't worry, I got off with a warning.


Anonymous said...

Even if you don't seem to have a home right now, at least you are making that dream possible for Kentuckians. It is almost as though you've sacraficed your home to give them one.

Anonymous said...

Did the trooper look at all like the one in "Dumb and Dumber"? I mean the cruiser probably looked a little like the dog truck and your hair sometimes looks a little like Harry's, so .......

Anonymous said...

Nothing quite like being in the real presence of the Creator of the Universe, especially when he knows you personally.

jennie marie said...

Glad you got to get back to campus. My trip back to UNC was great, but I left knowing my place is in Kentucky now. By the way - Heaven and Hollers has an update. Sorry, I suck at blogging.

Elisabeth said...

um...there was no shout out to me. just thought i should point that out.

a.e. nee said...

terrific post. i know what you mean about homelessness...

taye said...

just wait till kentucky seems to feel like will happen. even if you don't want or expect it to.
“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” -maya angelou