A Moment to Reflect

2 September 2020

A Moment to Reflect -97


How have you been sleeping in the last months?

My sleep patterns have been strangely disrupted. Some nights I sleep well, but there have been quite a few nights when I have wakened in the “wee small hours” and been unable to get back to sleep. 

Let me try to take you to a very special place. 

It is in the Amazonian Beni region of Bolivia. 

We’d had a busy day but as dusk was approaching, we were taken to Laguna Isireri, a lake beside the town of San Ignacios de Moxos. There we donned our life jackets and embarked on a small boat with an outboard motor. We skimmed across the lake but as we approached the far side our boatman cut the engine and allowed the boat to drift silently into a large tree-lined creek on the right. We were asked to be as silent as possible.

Above our heads, from every direction, large numbers of cranes were arriving (not the tall machines used for moving heavy objects of course, but the white long-legged, long-necked birds renowned for their elaborate courtship dances.)

This, we were told was (in English) “the Sleeping Place of the Cranes.” I wish I could remember the actual Spanish phrase because it sounded so much better.

There were hundreds of cranes, already settling into branches of the trees, hundreds more were arriving every minute. Each bird seemed to know where to go to find its own roost. The overall effect was stunning and simply remembering it induces within me a sense of wonder and joy.

Into my mind came the phrase “chickens coming home to roost” —but whereas that phrase has a slightly menacing feel to it (implying that our past mistakes have eventually caught up with us, and any bad things we’ve done in the past have come back to bite us or haunt us) this was a moment of exquisite calm and peacefulness. 

It was a homecoming.

Away back in the 1930’s, the American writer, Thomas Wolfe wrote the last of his four novels. It was entitled “You Can’t Go Home Again.” (It was actually published in 1940 after his death.)

But was he right? Jesus thought otherwise.

In one of my earlier reflections, on 17th May, I wrote about homecoming, quoting both the Psalmist (O Lord, you have always been our home) and Henri Nouwen (“the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.”) 

Reflect again today on what it means to find your home in God.