Approximately every other month I make a big batch of my all-time favorite red pasta sauce which requires 1 hour of prep work, 2 hours of simmering and 1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Despite how much I love this sauce, when I tasted a recent batch I thought, slightly mystified, “Well, nothing special.” Two weeks later I defrosted another container of it and, remembering how disappointed I’d been when I tasted it two weeks earlier, I did not expect much of it…but boy, was I wrong! It tasted fantastic, although slightly different than usual. My only conclusion is that the difference in the taste had to do with the specific Cabernet that I had used. Having the sauce taste differently than I’d expected it to had thrown me for a loop, and this pasta-sauce-experience made me aware that expectations can sometimes interfere with our appreciation of a reality when it differs from those expectations.
My own experience has also shown me that there can be other times where no expectation can open us to experience a new reality full-force! As I have written previously, in 2004 I was offered the chance to accompany some family members to Hawaii to see my brother. When the offer was made to me my immediate internal reaction was, “I’m not interested in going,” but I relented and went anyway. After landing in Honolulu we left the terminal, I stepped out onto the causeway that linked the landing terminal and the baggage terminal, I got about halfway across… with the soft Tradewinds blowing and the scent of flowers enveloping me… when, as if my heart had been whacked with a two-by-four, I suddenly realized: This is where I want to be! This is where I need to be! THIS IS HOME!!!
So…what is “home”? Home is that sudden recognition that this is where we belong, fills us out and completes us. Home is the primal reference point for the heart and that which gives our life its orientation. Home is where our heart blooms. Home can be a place, but as we age we discover that home can also be a relationship in which all of the above is true. My experience on the causeway was the exact opposite of the pasta sauce incident; my lack of expectation about Hawaii opened me to the realization that Hawaii is where my soul needs to be while my expectation of how the sauce should taste blinded me to how it actually tasted!
How many of our prejudices get in the way of discovering where our heart’s home is? The older I become the more certain I am that it is crucial for my soul’s growth in happiness that I deliberately fight against my own internal prejudices in regard to places and people and food and… yes Chris, even sports! Those prejudices create expectations and both of these can not only prevent us from being connected to a reality, but can also effectively blind our vision and imprison our heart. So… Do you know where “home” is for you?