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Babette’s Feast-ette

November 30, 2015


“Blessed are the homesick, for they shall come home.”

So the quote goes from Karen Blixen aka Isak Dinesen, writer of Anecdotes of Destiny which contains the modern classic Babette’s Feast.

And as our Thanksgiving gatherings have come, and gone, this beatitude – if you will,  and the foolishness of Babette to spend her lottery fortune on one meal, have mish-mashed for me. 


The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, found me (and my husband, son, and brother) working rather furiously to get my Mom’s house ready (enough) for our family to gather there for the holidays.  The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving also found me waking in the middle of the night feeling foolish.  The question through the dark was what are you doing?  That one, I could answer – spending all sorts of resources -  financial, emotional, time – on this endeavor.  Then, the accusing question through the dark was WHY?  Why, why, why?  I had no answer.  No end game in mind.  I only felt foolish.   And shame flushes your cheeks in broad daylight and your soul in the dark of night and puts an imperceptible-to-others limp in your gait.  So I limped to the finish line of getting the house ready (enough).    


A week ago, I found myself on the way to the grocery store listening to stories of Syrian refugees on the radio.  Blessed are the homesick…really, Karen/Isak?  Really?  And then I stood in the grocery store, and contemplated buying some exotic fruit for a table centerpiece that we probably would not eatReally, June?  Really?  And as I stood there, in that moment, the only whit of a thing I could do was buy the familiar fruit, with a sobering awareness that abundance is not for squandering.


At one point, during our Thanksgiving gathering, I stood in the kitchen and the hum of cousin voices and punctuating laughter filled my mom’s house.  (and now for a mash-up of Babette’s Feast quotes)  The windows of the house shone like gold.  Infinite grace had been allotted to them, it was but a fulfillment of an ever-present hope.  They had been given one hour of the millennium. Time itself had merged into eternity.


Blessed are the homesick, for they shall come home.  Are we not all homesick, longing to be where things are as they should be, could be?   Where we are sheltered and nourished and strengthened.  Is the longing ever satisfied?  Probably not.  Could the longing lead us?  Surely so.  To leave the light on, for those we love so much.  To open our curtain, for the neighbor across the street, and across the ocean.  To bear witness to the giving of one hour of the millennium, or even just one whit of an hour of the millennium.  To maybe, just maybe,  catch a glimpse of time merged into eternity, as the homesick come home.

With homesickness and hope,


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