When I think back to NYC, I can tell you immediately of my thought spots….places I found over the years where I could be relaxedly me and let my mind roam where it chose, places where my spirit broadened, deepened, stretched, loosened, to allow free passage in and out for the world in my heart. The end chair, second row back, in the Mary Chapel of Saint Francis Xavier. The flight of stairs behind the sanctuary where I’d sit to listen and write if the 9 AM Mass wasn’t done yet. About 5 pews back on the aisle in the sanctuary. The steps of Union Square park. The front steps and reading room of the New York Public Library on 5th Ave. The window-well wall outside of school that was wide enough to sit on with lunch. The corner of the couch in our living room.
I miss those spots like I miss favorite jeans when they have to go…I miss how they seemed to know me as much as I knew them, their contours, creases, and places worn smooth…how they seemed to wrap around me and say “welcome home, so glad you are here, it is right that you’re here, this is a you-shaped spot.”
I knew these places as a child, too. I sought them and found them with ease. In fact, it was less intentional than responding to an invitation they offered, now that I think back on it. I gravitated toward snug, tucked-in places. Beneath the canopied branches of the buckeye tree at the top of the yard, in the hay loft of a neighbor’s barn, lost in between the stacks of the public library, and one of my favorites–the upper bunk of a family friend’s camper, parked in the driveway.
Finding new thought spots takes time…and it reminds me a bit like a more philosophical version of Goldilocks. Though, I fully realize that I can and do think, write, pray, and read anywhere that is available. It can be frustrating, to be sure, and oh, I miss New York City… But, I also believe that in my wanders I am learning more contours of The Heart.
I believe that because I believe that there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God. And I have come to see that thought spots are resting ground in the journey to know The Heart.
So it is that I walk attentively and in faith, listening as I make my way, testing the shape of things, not knowing when the invitation will come, but ever so curious and desiring.