Editor’s Column

June 2024 Issue of Thema: “Home is where the heart is.”

“Home is where the heart is.”
Home is where we live both as human beings and spiritual beings. 

Home is where we can rest, regroup, grow, be nourished and flourish. We can be ourselves without distraction or reserve. We can relax into ourselves, be childlike in trust in solitude or community with ourselves and each other. We can be at peace. 

Or, home may be a place of discord, fear, trauma, confusion, a place where we learn to be hypervigilant, self-conscious instead of self-aware, primed for protective instincts. 

If we are able (enough) to turn to and discover our interior Home, we can find that rest, that peace with ourselves, the God of our understanding, all of Creation, and each other. We are constantly being invited to co-create a Home for ourselves within and without. This Home is a sacred space where we discover ourselves as not perfect, but made whole. In this space we are conceived, held, and reborn into a new sense of being. Held in this place, we are able to see both our radical poverty and our priceless richness, cloaked in God’s majesty. Gratitude overflows. 

In this issue of Thema, we continue to explore the theme of gratitude. We explore how the experience of searching for and finding Home is shaped by the socio-historical influences on our spiritual development. This issue’s selections invite us to reflect on the particular kind of gratitude that flows from the experience of finding Home. 

Gratitude for Miracles” by Jerry Rutledge, Associate Spiritual Director Intern at the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality, invites us to recognize how the power of the Holy Spirit working through all of our life experiences, helps us grow in compassion, opening us up to gratitude as it courses through our lives, enabling us to see its Presence working in and through all of our experiences, leading us towards hope. 

Rev. Dr. Rindy Trouteaud, retired Presbyterian pastor, WVIS Thema curator, and blogger, offers a reflection that leads us to consider more deeply how our daily experiences can lead us to discover our true Home, a place of countess possibilities born of hope, anchored in God’s love, nested and nestled in Christ. Rindy invites us to “walk the rooms of [our] home” as we listen to the hymn “God of the Sparrow” performed by the Broadway Festival Choir. Listen and you will hear echoes of the lilies of the field, birds of the air, making their home in Creation. 

In “Are You a Tree? Or are you a potted plant?” by Joy Marie Clarkson, Ph.D. from the Institute for Theology and the Arts at the University of Saint Andrews, we hear of the wisdom that can be found in traveling light and are asked to consider the contrasting energies of rootedness vs. rootlessness that we experience in our peregrination, “our journey to the homeland (a ‘pilgrimage’) and the condition of exile,” as we travel longingly towards life and hope, rooted in our Source. 

Kaitlin B. Curtice, citizen of the Potawatomi nation, poet-storyteller, essayist and author, offers a moving reflection on the intersection of indigenous spirituality, identity, ancestral and intergenerational relationship, and “childlike tenderness” that calls us to and offers us a roadmap to reconnect with Mother Earth and ourselves in her sermon at the prestigious Riverside Church, “Become like children this Earth Day (and beyond).” https://youtu.be/65wKV8rXozg?si=lAZ0JRx5Dh-jn6tw 

A poem by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope, entitled “In Art Class Making Aspen Trees: for Kellie Day” opens us up to consider Art as Home, a home of our “own making,” where we can rest and find inspiration and invitation. Rest in Rosemerry’s words and hear the longing in the wistful song, “Be Here Now” sung by Mat and Savanna Shaw which may be accessed using this link: https://youtu.be/ayVJnWjqQdM?si=cTdy-vyHe3RyE3A- 

Dr. Diana Butler Bass, author, church historian, public theologian, and popular speaker continues to echo this theme of longing for Home in her powerful reflection “They Were Afraid,” which recalls childhood experience with death, its connectedness to the Paschal journey, and how both call us to recognize home as “the place that changes us” and invites us to “go back to the place where it all began.” 

Through “The Hospitality of Vulnerability” by Rev. Rebecca Messman, senior pastor of Burke Presbyterian Church in the Washington, D.C., area, we are led into the space of hospitality, the willingness to be vulnerable, the willingness to welcome The Other into our Home. 

We find ourselves Home when we find ourselves doing what we love, feeling fully alive in both joy and sorrow, open, willing, in the arms of nature, in the arms of a beloved – in the embrace of The Beloved. May you find hope, comfort, peace, and inspiration in the words of these offerings. May they lead you one step further on your journey towards Home.

Lisa is an Associate Spiritual Director Intern at the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality, offering individual and group spiritual direction. She is a Temporarily Professed member of the Mary Magdalene Chapter of Lay Dominicans (Order of Preachers) in Raleigh, NC where she has organized and participated in hosting spiritual retreats offered by the community. Lisa is deeply committed to following a path towards spiritual growth, personal healing, and emotional and spiritual freedom. She is dedicated to studying sacred scripture and works on spirituality, practicing contemplative prayer, and sharing the fruits of these endeavors in community with others. 

Lisa has been a catechist for more than 20 years, preparing children to receive their first sacraments in the Catholic faith tradition. She is been actively engaged in the Music Apostolate for more than 25 years and serves as a cantor at St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest, NC. 

Working for almost 35 years in corporate America and currently bi-vocational, Lisa has begun to co- create a next chapter in her life to accompany and serve others in their spiritual journey. 

Lisa M. Marengo, O.P.

Wake Forest, NC