All The Way To Heaven Is Heaven
We are all the time leaving home in search of a home. The comfort of the known contains the lure of the unknown — we move from a fixed point toward the horizon as if propelled by evolution itself.
The young bird has to leave the nest, to test its wings against the currents, before it can claim the right to a nest of its own.
Home is always both ahead of and behind us, a perfect circle — this is the way of nature.
The story of the Fall perfectly illustrates this. Man had to leave the Garden, regardless of the circumstances, in order to be able to return to it. If he never leaves there is no time, no history.
It is in the flux between our leaving and our returning that life takes place. This is our story — without it we are featureless.
Home is not so much a place as it is an ideal, a myth in the truest sense.
A state of mind, it exists as something half remembered and as-yet unattained.
The home we seek is not the same home we left. It is the home we would never have left to begin with — it is the home we plan never to leave once we find it.
Yet we know, deep down, that our true home will never be found on this earth or in this lifetime. Even if we were to find it here, death would eventually evict us, thus beginning the process all over again.
What we desire here, then, is not so much a literal home as a symbolic one.
Home represents not so much safety as it does security — we are not immune to the hand of Fate, but at least we know that, whatever befalls us, we are home.
It is not dying that frightens us so much as dying, alone, in a foreign land. Knowing that we must one day face death, we would prefer to do it comfortably, in our own bed.
Searching for a place to die, we are left to live our lives in transition. Yet there is a sense that, deep down, we each know perfectly well where our true home lies — in solitude, we realize that our h0me is nowhere and, paradoxically, that it is everywhere.
As an ideal, as a state of mind, we carry our home with us just as surely as does the turtle or snail.
Nature will find us no home, but we are free to make a home of Nature any time we so choose — like the turtle or snail, we must ultimately recognize that, wherever we discover ourselves, we have brought our home with us. We are home.
Traveling through life, then, we are not so much searching for a new home as exploring the one we already have, pausing first to admire this room, then that. “In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
This is why we can see neither beginning nor end to our journey — both are contained in the present, and are therefore unknowable by abstraction.
Where does the circle begin or end?
Our home is not the beginning of the circle, a single point, but the circle itself — infinite and unbroken and eternal.
“The path to heaven lies through heaven, and all the way to heaven is heaven.” — Saint Catherine of Siena