Reflection Masthead
Issue 107 - First Home - May 2014

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Something You Haven't to Deserve

'Warren,' she said, 'he has come home to die: You needn't be afraid he'll leave you this time.'

'Home,' he mocked gently.                                       

'Yes, what else but home? It all depends on what you mean by home....'

'Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.'

'I should have called it something you somehow haven't to deserve.'

 "The Death of the Hired Man"

by Robert Frost


Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


96-Reveal Your Mercies

98-Pilgrim Soul

99-Your Book, Your Verse


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

103-Pretense Free

104-Into Self Into God



Link to all past issues  

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                                Leaving Home

When I was ten, my family moved from Hermiston, Oregon, from the only house I had lived in, from the only home I had known. I remember announcing, on the day we moved, "No matter where we live, I'll always think of Hermiston as home."

Why? I don't know. Partly true sadness at leaving, I'm sure. Fear of the unknown. Maybe just being a whiny kid, laying a guilt trip on my parents. To some degree, as I was vaguely aware even at the time, simply trying to make a grand statement.

Well! Since leaving Hermiston I have lived in 14 different towns, in 7 states and one foreign country. Only once have I returned to Hermiston as an adult; it has been decades since I spoke with anyone I knew there (apart from family).

I have, quite literally, moved on. Literally, but not fully. I house-front-sm.jpg haven't lived in that old farmhouse in more than 50 years, but it still lives on in me. I can picture every room. I still feel the warmth of the oil heater in the living room, still hear the wind whistling through the cracks. When I remember my childhood, I remember that place, that furniture, that stage where the drama took place.

Maya Angelou once wrote, "I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one's skin, at the extreme corners of one's eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe." My brother and I recently exchanged emails in which we rehearsed some of those dragons.

But Sarah Dessen sounds a more hopeful note: "Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go."   

- Bill 


The Chorus on Eighteenth Street

          If the walls could talk... If the walls could talk you would hear the story of the little white frame house on Eighteenth Street in Corpus Christi, Texas. It would tell of its welcomed birth, hand made by my grandfather Englert. He was a carpenter. The crushed seashell driveway on one side and white picket fence on the other were imaginary lines within which I felt secure and safe.

          If the walls were to tell the story of the children who grew up there, it would tell in chorus, for harmony lived there. Children played and laughed and danced - and staged Three-ring Circuses and published neighborhood kids' newsletters printed on a ditto machine. The story of the family who lived there would be sung in the Key of Love - love shown by affection, gentleness, and respect. The story of their faith would be sung in Psalm, for the presence of the Divine was known to abide there. Many guests joined the chorus for bridge parties, family get-togethers, and backyard barbecues. The harmony was woven with flowers, from the corsage in the refrigerator that my daddy gave my mother; to the little pink sweetheart roses he snipped to bless the dining table. There was order, peace, and joy - all in rhythm.

          And sometimes I can, in my memory even still, smell the homemade breads baking in my German neighbor's kitchen, those days before closed windows and air conditioning. Once, not long ago, I went back to the place that used to be, the house I grew up in, now under where a freeway passes. The constant zipping-by traffic is a reminder that time goes on. The little frame house on Eighteenth Street lived a good life, sang a happy tune, and the memories still refrain in my soul.

                                          ---by Jan 


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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries