by Rebecca Curtin

This past month I moved…again.

Over the past ten years I have moved eleven times. Virtually every year for the last decade I have packed up all my things and moved across town or across the country. My partner pointed out to me that this has helped me to get rid of a lot of stuff (in his opinion, maybe not enough stuff) that would otherwise just be cluttering my living space. It’s true that an annual move is a great opportunity for a purge of accumulated goods. But, sometimes it makes me feel like I’m never really at home.

I find myself longing to set up shop somewhere, anywhere, to invest in a space, if not financially, with love and creativity. I want to buy a piece of furniture or art that is just right for a particular spot. My newest apartment is sort of a haphazard accumulation of various items that were once just right for a particular spot, but now serve a more utilitarian purpose.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this. I’m sure I’ll reach a place in my life where I will long for these nomadic years, not weighed down by televisions, couches, and matching dishes. There is freedom in living in a place that you really could leave with the drop of a hat and without much more than a small u-haul. But, I’ve come to feel at 28 that I’m ready to put down some roots.

And, I find that I am in a similar place spiritually. Is my spiritual wandering be a direct result of my physical itinerancy? It is partly because of my frequent change in habitat that I no longer feel I belong to a particular parish.
Recently, I’ve also found myself wandering farther from my Catholic identity. There has been no formal split between us, but there is a growing separation. Catholicism is like the home of my childhood, something that as the years pass grows increasingly distant and unfamiliar as I struggle to find my place in the world, moving from place to place without investing real time in any one. Seeing what else is out there has recently made it more difficult to recommit myself to a church I feel might not know me anymore.

Last Sunday my partner thoughtfully suggested that we attend mass, and I realized while contemplating his suggestion, that I could not even think of a place to go. Well, a place I wanted to go. I wanted to go to somewhere that felt familiar, homey, that I could see myself attending week after week. A place where I could join a bible study and make friends. A place like the parish I grew up in. But, right now I don’t have a place like that, and mostly because I’ve been living too long in a wandering state of mind, with the rather defeatist idea that it wouldn’t be worth it to invest time and energy into a place I might soon leave behind, both physically and spiritually.
But, as my partner painted the walls of our new apartment, lovingly spending time making a place that will probably not be his for that much longer feel like home, I began to see that it might be worth it to try.

Rebecca Curtin just moved back to Somerville, MA. In the past decade she has also called San Diego, CA, South Bend, IN, London, UK, and Cambridge, MA her homes.


One Response

  1. Me too! To this whole post, me too.

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