I have a hunch that you are like me, you’ve gotten really good over time at living a disconnected life. You are super at faking it, you excel at putting up the front that ‘you got this’ and ‘this is fine, we’re fine’. Well, are you fine? Do you feel at home and at rest in this one ‘wild and precious’ life as Mary Oliver puts it? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you feel powerful? Is your inner life settled, is it at rest? Do you experience a deep abiding contentment regardless of how much or how little you have on the outside? Is your heart healed and free?
We know what the opposite experience is of these soul questions don’t we? Anxiety, depression, disconnection, loneliness, despair, loss of hope, hurt, suffering, loss, scattered thoughts, bondage, discontentment. In my 45 years of life on this orbiting planet, I’m learning that the answers for me reside in living and leading from the Front Porch. The Front Porch for me is a metaphor for a way of living that involves things like rest, self-awareness, invitation, hospitality, healing, truth, deep community, nourishment, power and many more experiences that make my heart feel at home.
When I’m living from the Front Porch, this is where I connect to the One who made me and gives my life context. This is the space of deep healing and intimacy. The Front Porch is a spiritual reality for me and I’d like to give it away to others who may find it helpful.
Life is not about the ‘next’ thing, it’s about finding a reality we can connect to that never changes. Everything in this world changes and breeds anxiety. There is a place we can find the satisfaction and contentment our souls long for that never changes. This is what I call living from the Front Porch.
“Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: ‘May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.’ But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.” –Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved