Finding My Pieces of Home

Jillian Doke - Ecuador


September 7, 2014

During our training at Stanford, we were asked to observe a place for 30 minutes and document our experience.  I decided to wander over to the beautiful chapel on campus, and realized how little I actually notice when I don’t take the time to step back.  Being inside that church gave me such a peace within.  I grew up inside churches and I felt so at home.  There is such a beauty in the quiet silence.  To me, the church feels like a universal home.  No matter where you are in the world, when inside a church, you wouldn’t know where you were.  I feel like that ambiguity unites people all around the world.  The feel of the old wooden pews and the stillness is so calming.  Light behind the stained glass windows creates that cliche image of God’s presence in the form of light shining down from the heavens.  Sometimes the thick smell of incense drifts under your nose.  At least for me, anything seems possible and everything seems okay.  Engraved in one of the stone walls was the quote “As we grow and improve, we will love more the beautiful everywhere…Let us never be sad.” It was exactly what I needed to hear.

This is the time of new beginnings, growth, and insurmountable changes.  Things have already been difficult, and I know they will continue to get harder, but I chose this.  Not only did I choose this, but I have been waiting 3 years for this journey!  When I was younger, I had this idea in my head that anytime the church bells rang angels came down from heaven.  I tried so hard every Sunday to strain my eyes and see them for myself.  I wished so badly that I would be chosen to have that experience of physically seeing supernatural beauty.  To be completely honest, I still hope that I will be opened to an experience like that.  But I have also realized that I don’t need to see something in order to feel it.

I meet angels every day, without question.  Walking around Quito, I met a couple so incredibly full of life.  They owned a small restaurant and were more than welcoming to us gringos, even telling us they were going to put a picture of us up in their restaurant for all to see.  And today, for the first time in my life, I moved in with complete strangers who speak an entirely different language than me.  I was so nervous, I thought I actually might pee my pants.  Yet after just a day, I already love them.  Mi mamita is so thoughtful and understanding to me, mi hermana teaches and listens to me, mi papito is curious and insightful, and my nephew is just about the cutest toddler on the planet.

The point is, no matter how far, home is everywhere.  Amidst all of the cultural differences, language barriers, and new faces, I am already starting to find a home.  Home is in the small things, the familiar places, and most importantly the friendly faces.  I firmly believe that any person at any given time could find a home anywhere in this world.  People are good, sometimes even great, and all we have is one another.  Whenever you feel alone, know that you aren’t.  Human connection is the thread that holds the world together and makes it a universal home.  So don’t be afraid to go out and “love more the beautiful everywhere.”

 

Jillian Doke