Coming Home.


It has been an exciting and very emotional few months. The start of the new Friary Rectory brought it with it the trepidation of an increased mortgage, the expense associated with a building project, and the unexpected ‘stuff’ that occurs in the proverbial phrase, “contingency”!

We have had a lot of contingency. The expenses have been higher in some areas, and lower on others, raising funds has been terribly difficult in these summer months while many are travelling and away from the parish, and the added insurance coverages, while needed, were a burden. Then, we need to also note the miscalculations that led to a triple-flooding event over four days that expanded the construction to all levels of the parish and part of the school and administration wing. And, in addition to just keeping things running as normally as I could, I have also been involved almost daily with the multitude of complex decisions related to this effort. I have a new profound depth of respect for construction workers, site mangers, general contractors, and especially for Greg Tomeszko, David Olson, and Lew Salotti. Yes, contingency has taken on a whole new depth!
Yesterday, I arrived back to campus after an errand only to find the completion of the exterior stucco work. The building finally began to look completed; it began to look like a home. My heart melted as I parked and I sat in my car and wept. I was overwhelmed and completed the poem shared at the end of this blog. It was as if I was coming home.
I have not had a home for almost three years now. Living in an RV is not as glamorous as some think it to be. It is cold in the winter, difficult to cool on hot days in summer, and the maintenance issues are complex. The daily chores add to the burden and run the gamut from adding drinking water to emptying the waste tank! No, it has not been easy. It has not been home.
I have not lived at home since I left for college and my very first degree at age 17, but I have always gone back home every chance I got. Home has always been very important to me and no matter where I was, I always made myself a home; someplace to go back to at the end of every day. A place to call home, and most importantly a place to feel at home. But, for several years, no home has been found, none felt. My soul, in a very real way, has been homeless.
Now, to be sure, home has changed over the years. It changed when I left Erie and began to go to school. It changed when I went into seminary in Washington, DC. It changed again drastically when my dad died, and then again when my mom moved here and the family home I knew went to my sister and her family. Home changed when we sold the condominium in Philadelphia and gave the proceeds to the parish in order for us to close on the loan that made all that we now have at Saint Miriam possible. And, I thought I could dwell here, in this RV, and still find home, but I never could. It was never home.
So, a few days ago when the staircase to the new Rectory was installed, the builder called me and asked me to come and see it. I was not sure what I expected, but I surely did not realize the impact it would have. As I approached the newly formed staircase that would lead many to a place we could call home, I literally broke down in tears and had to sit down on the first step. All I could do was look up and cry. I felt like, for the first time in many years, I may just be going home again very soon.
So, while many were away for their summer breaks, here we are, on the verge of completing another project for the good of the parish. Another promise kept, and lots of hard work and sacrifice of many, but for me it is much more… I am coming home.


A humble stair

A humble stair


to a humble place


a dwelling really


not much more


but to those who lodge here, it is home


a home we share


                        and dine


                                    and weep


                                                and worship


                                                            and praise


            and argue, too


a home, like your home, but perhaps something more


God is here


            not every day noticed, to be sure


but here, none-the-less


in all our mess


that is us, He comes


            and dwells here, too



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