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Tonight we watched The Hobbit. Like all of the Lord or the Ring Series it makes you think.

I thought tonight how difficult life can be and how protected my family and I are of that. Our house burned to the ground and we lost our things. We lost the tangible evidence of relations. The evidence came from gifts given to us that were a reflection of us not just gifts. We lost up to four generations of antiques that were the passing things from one generation to the next that keeps the family in relationships even if only in the communion of saints.

The Dwarfs are seeking to regain their home following a disastrous routing out during  war. Bilbo, a Hobbit who is accompanying them is accused of only wanting the comforts of his home when their Dwarfs have suffered without their homes . Bilbo responds in a cloak of hominess,  “you are right, that is my home and I belong there…you have lost yours and I will do everything I can to help you take it back.”

In the story fighting to regain one’s home is literal. It is battling Orcs, Goblins and Wargs. It is hanging on for dear life as the tree that was a safe haven begins its journey over the edge of the cliff it has lived on for a very long time. The Dwarfs, Bilbo and Gandalf cling to it for their very lives. It is clinging to the idea of home. It is clinging to the idea that things can be right and just.

This powerful story rests on the importance of light and dark. It rests on a brutal sort of justice. It rests on the concept that things can be right and just or even if they they are not right but justness or un-justjess  does not define their lives. It is their relationships that define their lives.  Some relationships are newly developed and some have long relied on malice and the anger of malice and anger. These relationships thrived on having the other as an enemy. Nonetheless when times grew dark they came together to learn respect and trust of each other, and to redefine themselves by including the other. Being in relationship does that, it changes you. It can protect you.  When the situation is most dire, Gandolf sends a message to the eagles through a moth. The eagles come and rescue the Dwarfs, Bilbo and Gandolf. Without being relationship,  Gandolf  could not have called on the help of the eagles. They came because they were called through relationship.

Looking over this past 9 months and in fact my life, I can see an unbroken, woven strand of my relationships. Most relationships change as the years pass. They change because someone moved or their focus changed. What keeps the strand whole is the emergence of others whose lives one that aligns with mine for a time. Viewed as s a strand, my life, and yours, have a shimmering, other world quality. That shimmering light follows you and gives light to to the darkness and shows your path defined by those who make up the strand. We are always in relationship and we can be protected and we can protect others in their strand.  No matter what happens in this journey of relationships give us a home.

In the past few months as I have gotten used to the idea that I have lost my home and my earthly possessions, I have learned that my physical home is important and it is critically important for me and while it shelters me, my life is not my house, it is the shelter of relationships that sanctifies my home.

back ends of three dogs sleeping. The dogs are facing out in a cicle with their behinds/tails touching.

These three dogs have formed an uneasy but real brilliance to stand vigil to watch over their mistress who is ill. The relationships of is overcome to provide solace to their mistress and to each other.