Thursday, July 31, 2014

No Place Like Home

As I shared earlier, my wife Linda and I have done a little traveling this summer and it has been fun. During Memorial Day weekend we visited Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky and to celebrate Independence Day (and our wedding anniversary) we visited Sewanee in Monteagle, Tennessee. And at each place, we were treated to classical music concerts, which we loved.

Yet as nice as each place was to visit, we nonetheless found ourselves uttering that familiar phrase, “be it ever so humble, there is no place like home,” which has gotten me to think about the meaning of home again, particularly since our one-year lease has expired and we are living on a month-to-month basis. The virtues of our present place are many and so we are content to continue living here.

For friends and family who have followed our journey these last three years since we sold our house and furniture to explore a more location-independent lifestyle, the question may arise, “so do thoughts of home mean you are thinking of settling down again?” To which we’d reply, “uh, no.” I’m not sure I even know what settling down would look like for us, but it definitely does not include buying another house. It even feels a little funny staying in the same area for the last couple years, even though we changed addresses.

As regular readers may recall, I posted an entry titled The Meaning of Home about a year ago but here are more thoughts about it. Alain de Botton writes in The Architecture of Happiness: The Secret Art of Furnishing Your Life, “Those places whose outlook matches and legitimates our own, we tend to honor with the term ‘home.’ Our homes do not have to offer us permanent occupancy or store our clothes to merit the name. To speak of home in relation to a building is simply to recognize its harmony with our own prized internal song. Home can be an airport or a library, a garden or a diner.”

And Kirsten Chapman adds in The Way Home, “We are imprinted with an eternal sense of ‘home’—no matter how far we wander. Home can be found in a place, a person, a book, a melody. When we feel it, we know we’re there. It is that safe haven where we find comfort. Where we feel anchored. It is a lifeline.” So for the time being, we are at home here, and if that changes, I will write about it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Celebrating Interdependence Day

As it has been awhile since I posted here I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ll start with an overdue post about our visit to Monteagle, Tennessee and the University of the South, better known as Sewanee. Just a couple hours’ drive from the Nashville area, our holiday trip transported us a world away, which is exactly what we wanted as we celebrated our wedding anniversary, or Interdependence Day, as it is known in our house.

We had heard what a beautiful campus the college had and it was that and more. But it was a series of serendipitous experiences that combined to make our adventure so memorable. Upon arriving for our first night at the luxurious new Sewanee Inn we learned that the college orchestra was performing a free concert of classical music at the nearby Monteagle Sunday School Assembly (MMSA) and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our visit.

According to the sign at its entrance, the purpose of MMSA is “the advancement of science, literary attainment, Sunday School interests, and the promotion of the broadest popular culture in the interest of Christianity without regard to sect or denomination.” It is patterned after the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York and is similar to the Methodist campground that we visited at Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

It was a slice of our beloved New England here in the South and the weather even turned quite a bit cooler for us, adding to the irresistible ambience of the idyllic retreat center. Back at Sewanee, we bravely (and successfully) rode the tandem bike the inn provided for guests, toured the gothic-themed campus of the university and visited several of the neighboring scenic spots, including a giant-sized white cross on the mountainside and the stunning library of homegrown investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton.

Capping off our relaxing visit was the complimentary upgrade upon our request to a spacious upstairs suite overlooking the golf course. Our stay not only refreshed our bodies but also our spirits and reminded us anew of how much God cares for us and delights in giving us the desires of our hearts. This Independence Day we celebrated our interdependence on one another and on God and yes, there were fireworks!