Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Home is where one starts from...

On Thursday I am flying to the city of my parents' meeting and courtship, the city of their wistful nostalgia at the mention of its name. It is the city of my pre-history, and the burial ground of my paternal grandparents. If time allows, I will try to spend a moment at their graveside. On Thursday, I am flying to Montreal.

To my knowledge, I've never been there. My mom and dad took us on a trip that way when I was two or three, but our car broke down in a small Francophone town called St. Isidore, and I fell out of the car, smashing my forehead on the curb. Blood spilled everywhere. My dad informed me (as he rushed me into some hospitable old lady's house to provide some First Aid), that I had broken my "pumper vein." So we didn't make it then to Montreal.

This time, I am going to lend a hand in the awe-inspiring, fatiguing, harrowing work of the Church (to attend our Archdiocesan Council meeting on behalf of the younger generations), a role I'm honoured to play - as an assistant to Fr. Richard. We go to parish rich in history, Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral... almost 100 years old. It has struggled, and flourished, and declined, and now, again begins to open up. They have extended a warm invitation to us. It is the Church of the Apostles who at times vehemently disagreed, but continued to love each other anyway. It is the Church of Iron Sharpening Iron (Proverbs 27.17 ).

So it's time here again to return to Four Quartets, now to East Coker.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

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Blogger Mimi said...

Travel safely and try to not fall out of the car.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

I'll do my best. Thanks Mimi.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Simply Victoria said...

a trip to montreal. i envy you. home of my ancestry (0.5 of it, anyway). I haven't been there since I was about 11. My sister lived there for a few years. She loves the city. It's an old world city, right here in Canada. Happy travels!

3:48 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Thanks Vic. I just got back last night, and it was a great trip. Tiring, but very good. And you're right. Montreal is an amazing city.

9:32 AM  

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