The Ties that Bind

November 21, 2023
by Julian

A little over two months after our arrival to Dandelion House and Lisa and I still marvel at how challenging transition can be, even though we chose this move, even though our experience so far has been predominantly positive, especially in how warmly we’ve been embraced by our extended community of friends and neighbors. To uproot ourselves, to leave behind familiar patterns of life and relationships, and then plant new roots, form new relationships, and develop new patterns of life naturally entails moments of doubt and feelings of loss and anxiety as we gradually find our way to a sense of home again. 

And yet we do find our way. During our last Sunday Soup and Contemplation gathering, for instance, in which we meet weekly to read a poem, sit in silence, and share from our hearts before sharing a meal together, I had an epiphany. As I engaged new friends over a bowl of sweet potato ginger lentil soup, taking in one another’s ups and downs of the past week, I sensed that something had shifted. I realized that I felt connected, in the flow, that these new friends are truly part of my life now, and they, mine—intimations of roots taking shape, of belonging, of home.

I realized that I felt connected, in the flow, that these new friends are truly part of my life now, and they, mine—intimations of roots taking shape, of belonging, of home.

This makes me reflect on All Saints Day and All Souls Day, which we just celebrated, in which we are invited to turn our attention to the enduring presence of our deceased loved ones and ancestors in our lives, and I feel compelled to add, in these uncertain times when our common future hangs precariously in the balance, our descendants as well. We remember that our brief moment in time is not our own but inhabited by the past and future alike, and that we are never alone, never without deeper roots that connect us, ultimately, to everyone and everything else. What are our ancestors communicating to us now? What are our descendants asking of us?


I am also moved to think of those whose transitions are not freely chosen, who lack the agency, resources, and support to find their way to another shore. As wars rage and migrants and refugees seek a place to land, as the very ecosystems on which we depend unravel and countless species go extinct, as our houseless neighbors struggle for survival in the shadow of obscene material overabundance, how do we manifest our inherent connectedness in ways that bring hope and healing to a world that seems to be fraying at the seams? How do we strengthen the ties that bind us to one another so that we can be a refuge and home for those who lack such connections?

Where I find ground for hope and healing are in actions that connect: Opening our door to our guests who come to live with us, who currently include an elderly couple who had been living in their car, and a high school student in need of a stable place to live; meeting neighbors to discuss how we can become more resilient and available to one another as we face the impacts of climate chaos; hosting events, like Sunday Soup and Contemplation, that bring people together in meaningful ways; serving a hot lunch to those left behind by a grossly unjust economic system; sinking our hands in the soil and growing wholesome food for ourselves and our neighbors. For me, hope is made present through acting in the service of the web that connects, trusting in the unbounded love and creativity of the Spirit in the concrete circumstances of our relationships and communities, no matter how broken these may appear.
We invite you to join us in this hopeful activity. Our door is open.

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