Life has a way of calling for the circumnaviation of pathways leading to departure and return.
This Lenten season my husband and I have received the call to return to life near the sea. We recently revisited Carmel, California where we lived for sixteen years. During our life there, I wrote the first draft of Ink and Honey and sketched my thoughts for what would later become, The Way of Belle Coeur.
Before we moved to Carmel we lived in Dallas, Texas where we raised our children. Five years ago, my husband’s work called us back to Texas from Carmel-by-the-Sea. Our journey of return to where we had begun our life together, has allowed us to spend sweet reunion with dear friends and family we bid goodbye when we moved to California.
Within hours of our arrival at Carmel two weeks ago, we experienced an invitation and call from God to leave Texas to return there. Nature and all of Creation, I believe, is God made visible. God’s presence is not only visible, but also palpable in Carmel. The Creator speaks to the heart through the sensual feast within the deep blue of the Pacific ocean, the sight of plunging pelicans, the mystery of twisted Cypress branches, the smell of burning hearthfires, and the cool touch of misty fog on an early morning.
The tiny village known as, Carmel-by-the-Sea, has been home to artists and poets for over a century. The nearby Carmelite Monastery is sanctuary for twelve dedicated, cloistered nuns. They sing the Psalms at the 8:00 a.m. Mass each day and the sacredness of this holy place feeds my soul in a way that is impossible to describe.
During our visit we reconneted with many friends and acquaintances and the wonderful community at the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula also a life-giving, sacred place filled with the Spirit. At every turn, Don and I felt the affirmation that we were being called to circumnavigate once again and return to Carmel.
This Lenten season we are shedding, releasing, and otherwise letting go of all that has served us well, materially speaking. We will travel lightly when return to life near the sea. Our Texas home will go on the market in two weeks.
We have already begun our pilgrimage of return. This experience is also an adventure, as we have no idea where we will live. We trust our new Carmel home will be revealed according to God’s timing. Meanwhile, after our current house is sold, we’ll drive to California and stay at a small vacation rental with things in storage until we find our next heart and hearth place.
In August, Don and I will celebrate our fiftieth anniversary and soon after I’ll begin my eighth decade. We are living into the creation of the winter chapter of our life’s journey. Meanwhile, there’s a little Pacific coastal village where the sea ebbs and flows, the seagulls are nesting, and somewhere a hearthfire awaits. We are circumnavigating once again…and God is calling us home.