I have had the very good fortune of being able to do that. I moved to Santa Barbara in 1979 to go to college, and have never moved since then. Thirty-two years in one place is a wonderful thing. I recognize it is an enormous gift, one that so many will not have the option to have.
But I also think that in our fast-paced, hyper-mobile culture, we don't really even value such stability any more. But some of the reading I've been doing lately is really challenging me to keep exploring the implications of stability. Many of us believe that in traveling we are able to embark on a journey that helps us discover ourselves, and hopefully God as well. But what is becoming more and more clear to me is that stability has allowed me to be on an inner journey instead, going deeper and deeper over the years into intimacy with God. As Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove says in The Wisdom of Stability, "I love the idea that the stability we are made for helps us establish 'roots of love,' binding us intimately to our landscape and the people who share life on it." Such 'roots of love' help me to tap more steadily into the Spirit too, who in turn teaches me to love others generously and persistently. While I have grown much over the years, I still have so very far to go!
These things have been turning over in my head, so as I read this quote last night, it spoke to these ongoing musings on staying in one place:
Somebody asked Abba Antony (St. Antony the Great of Egypt), “What shall I do in order to please God?”He replied, “Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of Holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guide-lines, you will be saved.”
Chew on that.