Word came yesterday that there’s a signed contract to sell Mom’s house. A few contingencies still to be met, sure: But it appears this deal is just about done…putting the wraps on the search for a buyer that began well over a year ago.
The news wasn’t entirely good in my estimation.
I’m certainly glad for Mom – one big worry off her mind, and far fewer ‘home maintenance’ headaches in her future. But as I tried the idea on for size – the fact that her place, the home of my youth, would no longer be part of our lives – I realized that I was about lose ‘a pearl of great price.’ Countless memories, bountiful family moments, blessings beyond measure.
We’ve had more than a few joyful holiday gatherings on these premises across the decades. Simple, everyday feasts, too. Blissful times…coupled with episodes of profound pain and sadness.
All in this one place. Her place. Our place. Surely, a liminal place – where the kingdom of heaven has always been near.
It’s only human, I suppose, to want to hold onto at least a piece of that. Maybe even a big piece of it.
But I notice that in this week’s gospel, Jesus seems to be telling us that the path to true holiness involves at least an equal measure of letting go:
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Staying put is not always an option. We need to take risks if we are to grow closer to God…if we are to truly enter into the Mystery that God sets before us:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
Perhaps there’s even grace to be found in the process of downsizing:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Like the disciples in the gospel reading, I notice that I’m doing my best to put a brave face on this imminent disruption in my life’s arc.
[Jesus said]: ‘Do you understand all these things?’
They answered, ‘Yes.’
Still, with the sale pending, I somehow can’t resist the urge to bring forth from the storeroom a wistful tribute to ‘the new and the old.’
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.