Gran's Apple Butter Blog

December 27, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: One Note (8I)

Chapter 8 ~ You Have Reached Your Destination

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. ~ Lin Yutang

At the end of each journey, which is really just the beginning of another, we reach our destination. Depending on the trip, we may stay for a short visit or a long one – just hanging out. And, of course, bearing in mind that like Mikey’s favorite board game, arriving at Go! only means it’s time to begin again, this time with a few more houses and hotels of wisdom and hopefully a nice stash for those bad rolls of the dice. 

Even being at home has its lessons. But for now, let’s focus on your arrival. What does this look like? How does it feel? Gran said in the beginning this is all about coming home inside oneself, with one caveat: Until a person comes home inside, he’ll never be able to reach home anywhere else, ‘cause he’ll run into nothing but roadblocks along the way. He can try to skip ahead, but he may discover himself sliding down a ladder in the wrong direction, landing further back than where he started.

And yet, Gran said, we learn from those moves, so it’s all good.


One Note

First things first: How do you know you’ve arrived? Gran said we’ll feel this before we see it. We’ll feel it in our bones, an overwhelming sense of home. On our first journey, arriving home feels like we’re finally whole and complete. We’ve become one with all the voices inside, knowing that everything we do is guided by our center.

If we’re still not sure, we have a few clues to check – we brought ‘em along and didn’t even know we were doing it! Remember that address in your lunch box? Does it match? Check that photograph we tucked away with the help of Gran’s reminder marble. Anyone look familiar? What’s your heart saying? Yes, that heart with all those scars across it. Hearts always know. The sooner we accept that, the faster we’ll progress on the rest of our journeys.

Another clue we’re home appears when we look in the mirror and see our reflections more clearly than ever before. Maybe we’ll see a part of ourselves we’ve always dreamed about – there it is, in living color, bright as brass and glowing like spun gold.

For me, this coming home meant finding my muse again. My gift, which had a pen-and-ink-quality, died a long, slow death, culminating with the passing of Gran. Everything good ended then, or so it seemed. It took me a long time to find her again – to find myself, somewhere in between. For a while I didn’t even want to look. What was the point?

Knowing our time together was limited, Gran had left a few clues behind for me to follow when I was ready. She saw who I was a long time ago, and she looked deeply enough to know I had a tough road ahead. So she took it upon herself, Gran-style, to leave a few trail markers here and there along the way. Like the manuscript, or like the sheet I pull from my journal as I write, flipping it open to see a copy of my first paycheck. One hundred dollars, payable to ten-year-old Mikey for a story dated 1984. Gran had kept this tucked away, and years later she mailed it to me with a note scrawled inside: “Seems like you were always a step ahead of everyone else.” Did she have any idea how much that would mean to me? I think she did.

These clues could be helpful, but Gran’s favorite way of explaining how we’d know we were home came with a high-tech-deep-science flavor. She couldn’t resist it, she said – she’d run across the idea in one of her magazines, and as soon as she read that headline, the whole thing played out in her mind like a beautiful symphony. She could see it all, from beginning to end.

“Which symphony?” one visitor asked over apple butter and biscuits.

“The symphony of life,” came Gran’s reply.

Then she’d launched into what she’d read about this new string theory everyone was talking about. She’d simplified it, of course, so she could understand it a little better. Gran’s version of string theory basically said that the whole, entire universe, and maybe whatever is outside it, is like a huge symphony, and each thing in it is just another instrument in the orchestra – one more tuba, maybe a slide trombone or a French horn. Personally, I wanted to be the triangle.

But, Gran said, we don’t even get to be a whole instrument by ourselves – we aren’t that big! In fact, you and me, right here, right now, we’re just one tiny little vibration of one note, being played by one particular instrument, in one particular movement, of one particular song, in that whole, entire symphony.

How did this relate to knowing we were home?

Well, Gran said, we’d know we were home when the song sounded just right. We play better when we stop trying to be a whole, unique instrument and start looking for the little place where our note fits into the song playing around us.

We don’t have to try to be the whole symphony or five or six different instruments – it won’t work anyway. All we have to do, to fulfill our mission in life, our purpose for living here on this little ol’ planet, is to play our One Note as best we can, loud and true and strong, in that exact moment when we know it is our time.

Then, Gran said, we’d know we were home.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010-2011. All rights reserved.
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