“Are you forgetting where you live?” she called out, laughing.
I hesitated, searching for a quick response that would be funny, but the noisy voices in my head were yammering away, and I couldn’t quiet them long enough to be clever.
What the woman had seen me do was exit the greenbelt trail via a little sidewalk that leads to the very neighborhood the greenbelt is designed to hide…then turn back around towards the trail and stop.
When I exited the greenbelt, I was complying with Rule No. 13 of Proper Greenbelt Etiquette, and that is: When you see one small woman with two large dogs approaching, and the dogs are walking the woman rather than the other way around, you and your canine companion politely exit the greenbelt (if possible) to allow the small woman with the big dogs to pass by.
After they pass by, you resume your position on the path, bragging loudly to your canine companion about her impeccably good doggy behavior and patting yourself on the back for your compliance with the rules.
But not everyone knows the rules. (Largely because I made them up and they are in my head). So the small blonde woman with the enthusiastic pony tail and rambunctious dogs, unfamiliar with Rule 13, assumed I had exited the greenbelt looking for my home and had taken the wrong exit.
“Are you forgetting where you live?”
One of the voices in my head started to shout, Really? YOU’RE the one who --
(Don’t worry. I would never say it out loud. Just, you know. The voices. They’re always saying the things.)
Shushing the voices as best I could, I smiled and waved at the woman. But as she moved on, her words seemed to hang in the air.
Are you forgetting where you live?
I’ve learned to take cryptic remarks made on the greenbelt trails seriously. Sometimes -- not always, but sometimes -- they’re God’s message to me for the day. (#truth)
Was I? Was I forgetting where I live?
Rats. I was.
And the crazy thing is, it was Rule13 that was causing the problem. In my personal life (and inner world) I had become, once again, enmeshed in Rule 13, ever busy trying to control people and situations so that there would be no ‘trouble’ -- more to the point, I was trying to control people and situations so no one (including me/especially me) would get hurt.
I better explain this to her...
Best to let him know that...
Oh, dear, better tell them not to...
You know, if only she knew...maybe I’ll call her...
He needs a nudge. Maybe I should just mention…
And I wasn’t confining myself to the locals in my world either. I had plenty of ideas about the larger world, “helpful” thoughts and suggestions about what our political leaders should do, what our spiritual leaders should be doing, what our —
As my restless thoughts grew and grew, I started feeling smaller and tighter. Anxious.
I was forgetting where my Home is.
William Wordsworth wrote that our home is “with infinitude.” Our destiny, our hearts, our Home — they all dwell in the wide-open space and wide-open ease of our Creator. And here I was wasting my time on self-imposed rules and regulations for a little world I had created as poor substitute for my True Home; trying to control everyone and everything when what I really needed was to experience the freedom and safety of letting it all go. So I decided (again) to lay off. To stop trying to control everyone and everything around me.
In short, I remembered where I Live.
Remember where you live, my friend. And Come Home.