Imagine two houses for you to live in. They are both very adequate houses.
If you’re a middle class American, the first house was built for you by your parents, extended family, teachers, and faith community – your tribe.
If you are from a disadvantaged neighborhood – one inundated with systemic poverty, racism, and mass incarceration – then you had to build your own first house pretty much on your own, with maybe some help from a pastor, a coach, or a teacher. What was handed to the middle-class was a struggle for you.
But, either way, now you have the first house to live in. As I said, it is quite adequate. Most Americans simply live there all their lives.
This first house is called “citizen.” This first house is your everyday life – education, job, pay the bills, put food on the table. Maybe you have a spouse or a partner. Perhaps you have children. This house is everyday life.
But, it’s not you. it’s the structure around you, but it’s not the real you, the deep you, the essential you. It’s not your soul, not your spirit.
Something happened. This first house fell into ruins. It became unlivable. Maybe it collapsed altogether as in a tornado. Maybe it just deteriorated and the roof leaks and the wiring shorts out.
Maybe your “something” was a crisis like the death of a loved one, abuse, assault, an economic downturn, a divorce, domestic violence, or an addiction.
Or, maybe the “something” that caused your first house to fall into disrepair was more subtle. Perhaps you’re questioning your faith. Maybe anxieties or depression have popped up. You feel an inner discontentment.
Maybe you’ve grown and you just need more room.
Whatever the cause, that very adequate first house is no longer adequate. It needs a major overhaul, to be razed and rebuilt.
The second house goes by different names: Elder, sage, wisdom, mentor, guide, church mother, spiritual father. In the second house you become wise.
The second house – the new one, the remodeled one, still has plenty of room for the citizen with the career and the family. In fact, it has more room, so those things can grow.
Most importantly, it has space for fulfillment, wholeness, beauty, creativity, wisdom, authentic community, compassion, service, connectedness with nature, forgiveness, grace, and peace. Here, you are actualized. Here you become a tribal elder. Here, you experience Love. Here, you connect with eternity, with the divine, with God.
My job is to help you build that second house.