Sunday, January 29, 2012


“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at HOME.”  Wendell Berry

It's Sunday morning which should have a "feel" to it, but for our family does not because any given week could be different.  One of the things I have longed and prayed for is some return to routine and ritual for us.  I imagine waking to coffee and a hymn playlist while we make cinnamon rolls and then rushing around to get ready for church and out the door.  I cannot remember the last time we were all able to go together.

Today we are in varying stages of recovering from sickness.  Delaney had a fever and cold last week and now Dan and Danica are finally on the tail end of the same thing but still very snotty.  I moved home Thursday afternoon and promptly began to feel very feverish.  Yesterday I spent most of the day in the bathroom and completely wiped out.  I was discouraged.  I felt afraid nothing had changed and the last eleven weeks were wasted time.

This morning I woke early and turned to find my husband beside me.  I curled up with our arms and legs intertwined, and gradually our breathing became the same peaceful rhythm.  This man who has denied himself completely over the last months to care for me and our children became the servant leader I always prayed for.  There was no one hoping harder for this surgery to make a difference in my health and mostly in my heart.  He was the only one who fully understood how close I felt to the end of my life and how serious things had become.  He never stopped believing in the Monica Kaye he had fallen in love with. 

Danica came in rubbing her sleepy eyes and wanting to snuggle a little.  Dan got her settled and went into her room to catch more sleep.  Her sweet soft hand reached over to hold mine.  She has grown from a tiny baby bird who was always under my wing into a strong flyer.  She is saying and doing the funniest things that come from people and places I did not experience with her.  This hurts in the best way.  For so long I prayed this miracle girl would be able to flit and float through life and use her beautiful mind to learn and her brave heart to help others.  I wanted the world to know her as I do.  All these dreams are coming true. 

Delaney snuck in and made a comfy pallet of blankets and pillows on the floor beside me.  She began to giggle and squeal.  Her new puppy, Twixy, the love of her life, the reward she waited and waited for as she suffered through crisis after crisis in our family, was spreading kisses all over her face and ears.  I have never seen Delaney happier.  I have never seen her more respectful and responsible.  I am so proud of her special brand of courage and learned compassion, something that does not come easily when you are nine and wanting your life to be picture perfect and revolving around you. 

I got up and began to take care of my girls.  I felt good.  Yes, my neck muscles are stiff and tire easily.  My head does go numb when I do too much.  The pain in my lower back and legs is much more evident since my surgery.  Still, I am like a new person.  Truly, it is so life changing for me I scarcely know how to feel or act.  This morning I was pleasant and loving and patient without even trying.  As someone who has suffered from chronic pain for so many years I didn't even realize the hard edge I had begun to wear on my worst days and the callouses the people I love so dearly needed to form to protect themselves from me. 

Dan came out of Danica's bedroom from sleeping in and said, "This is too weird.  I don't know what to do with this."  We hugged and laughed.  I had washed the dishes.  The girls were playing nicely, and I was on my second cup of coffee.  Maybe, just maybe this arduous, humbling journey brought us all back here, to the sacred ground right under our own feet. 

Home.  Quite literally the one thing I have treasured and longed for since I was a young child.  I somehow have always known in my heart it is made up of more than a roof and walls and things.  If built the right way it becomes a sanctuary for the sacred.  It is built by wisdom.  It is built by understanding. 

I am home.  I run to my bookshelf and pull Somewhere More Holy by Tony Woodlief.  I find the dogeared page with the quote I have have carried in my mind but can't quite type verbatim. 

" . . . This is the story of how we reclaim the things that are lost.  It's also the story of how a home can become sacred, and how the process can sanctify us as well.  I can tell you these things because I have been in dark places--which is the only way any of us learns to love the light . . . Home is more than a place we eat and sleep; it is where we learn grace, where we glimpse heaven.  It is where we find or lose God, or perhaps where He finds us if we will only be still long enough to listen for Him." 

Maybe, just maybe, this basement is the truest home I have known.


  1. So glad you are HOME. LOVE!!!

    "Whenever I go on a trip, I think about all the homes I've had & I remember how little has changed about what comforts me. " ~StoryPeople

  2. Oh Monica, I just LOVED reading your post! It made me so happy for you, and also gave me just a little hope on a day I really needed it, that things may get better.

  3. One of my favorite quotes! :) I'm so glad you are home and with your loves... Missing you and praying ever. LOVE.