Going Home, the Story of a Soul
O.E. sawol “spiritual and emotional part of a person, animate existence,”…of uncertain origin. Sometimes said to mean originally “coming from or belonging to the sea.” (Online Etymology Dictionary)
was a country that existed on the edges of things. It was a beautiful country of waving wheat
fields, rolling, verdant hills, meadows of wild flowers, and lakes and rivers
so clear and refreshing that one sip from them would set you reeling into conscious
I say it
existed on the edges of things because it did.
If you looked out of the corner of your eyes it was there, flashing its
heavenly light, but when you looked at it full on it seemed to vanish into thin
air. Sometimes you could catch a glimpse
of it in the eyes of children or senior citizens. There were those too, who, after years of
hard work, could see it shining over their shoulders while looking in the
It had a
fragrance that was famous throughout history for being the sweetest, most
intoxicating fragrance that ever wafted through the atmosphere. It was coveted; people tried to bottle it,
smoke it, manufacture it, imitate it, or to make matters simpler in their own
minds, deny it was there. Denying it seemed
to make them feel better if they couldn’t smell it for whatever reason. But it
was there and it rose from behind the sweetest memories. Sometimes one could sense it on the wind and
swoon into an ecstasy of heart-wrenching nostalgia and not understand why.
One of the strangest
things about this country is that everyone from every other country in the
world came from there originally. Everyone lived there for years and years long
ago, and loved it. But for reasons still
unexplained, they became restless, wanted adventure, wanted to go out, as we
sometimes want to go out today, to a carnival, circus, or to see a movie, to learn
something new, or to simply go looking for cheap thrills and trinkets at a
local flea market. Whatever the reasons
people would simply get the urge to go and they would go. Of course, they needed the blessing of the
king and queen before they could leave, but the royal couple, named Amore and
Sophia, never refused such requests, even though they knew the explorer would
not return for many, many years. They
certainly never returned the same. And
once they left, the journey was so arduous and wrought with dangers and
pleasures that their memories of their beloved homeland were erased in the same
way a drunkards would be after a night of drinking. Amore and Sophie knew these things would
happen, yet they always left their people free to make the choice for
One day, an adolescent
citizen of that country asked to venture into the so-called, real world. Her name was Sawol. She was beautiful, and infinitely deep with
knowledge and wisdom, curiosity, love, and passion, all couched in a rich desire
to express herself, and to know herself.
She was like a living body of water, she moved with such fluidity,
grace, and mystery. The king and queen
loved her dearly, so much so that they wanted to be sure she felt free to go,
and when they gave their blessing, she was off on her journey in the blink of
many winding roads, many dark and unclear passageways, she navigated many
illuminated roads—roads lit with candles of vigils of those who had gone
before. After many days which seemed
like many years she came to an enchanted country she had never seen
before. It was gorgeous, almost an exact
copy of her homeland, expect that it held a touch of grayness and stain that
she couldn’t quite explain. Still, it
was beautiful and filled with adventures.
So much so that she quickly fell in love with it and decided to stay.
were a rowdy, full-hearted bunch, easy to love, yet hard to understand. She loved their language and customs. They danced, sang, and played. They worked hard and defended their land with
their own blood. They created dramas and
comedies, tragedies and operas out of the fabric of their daily lives, and
Sawol got so swept up into the action that, by and by, she forgot who she was
and where she came from.
knew it she met a young sailor names Animus and together they were married and
raised a family, and life was good. It
was busy–filled with heart aches and joys, victories and defeats.
But every now
and then Sawol would catch little glimpses of her real home. She would see it shimmering just behind the
beauty of the flowers or within the heart of a timeless piece of music. She would smell the fragrance of her homeland
some days in the spring and her heart would suddenly ache for something she
couldn’t quite remember.
went by she began to see that no matter what she did everything in this country
was touched with some strange, undefinable failure. Nothing lasted, things eventually got old,
turned gray, faded to black, dissolved into ashes and finely sifted dust. She began to get restless, as if somewhere
inside her a magnet was trembling under a great weight unable to run to its
mate. She loved the country she lived
in. She loved her family and her
community, and yet when she looked closely at her life something was
missing. It was like looking at a
majestic painting with a corner left untouched.
Something just wasn’t right and she didn’t know what it was. A vague depression began to shroud her
heart. She would explore different
avenues to get rid of her pain, she would try new careers, cultivate old
talents and gifts, try to give herself away to others, and yet, the depression
remained. She sank into dark times,
drinking and drugging, trying to numb out the depression. She tried natural cures and unnatural cures
and while some worked for a time, she would always come back to her senses and
feel strangely alone, strangely out of place, even in the arms of her husband.
One day after
living for years in quiet desperation, she wandered far from her village and
grew very weary and hungry. She hungered
for something in a way she had never felt.
After many days she stumbled into a tumble-down tavern and sat
down. As her eyes grew accustomed to the
dim, smoky light, she heard a sound that cut her to the quick—it was a voice
with an accent that she suddenly remembered.
She looked towards the speaker of the voice and when she did he was
looking at her, more like into her, and Sawol rose, fell at his feet, and
wept. For he had come from her homeland,
like a wave from the sea. She suddenly
remembered everything, her true origins, her true home, and wanted desperately
to go back. The man lovingly lifted her,
whispered the names of her favorite regions of her motherland and some of the
names of her favorite friends into her ear.
He even told her the names of her mother and father, and she wept when
she realized she had forgotten them during her stay in this foreign
country. And when she asked him his name
and he told her, his name became a silken, golden thread that wove through everything
she did or said from that moment onward.
He told her
to return to her village, finish out her obligations with love and devotion,
but to keep his name ever on her lips and ever in her heart and mind, to keep
the names of her homeland and friends foremost in her thoughts and to repeat
them over and over in her mind. He told
her to repeat these names and to imagine he was with her and that she was there
in those regions walking with him. He told her to live like the princess that
she was, noble and worthy of all abundance.
He told her he would wait for her on the shore, that he would be there
carrying a light and a song that she would recognize and could follow. He would be, as it were, a living, breathing,
musical lighthouse. But Sawol wouldn’t
leave him. She clung to his feet. He assured her however that he would come
back for her when the time was right. And
to reassure her that he was telling the truth, he kissed her forehead and when
he did, an image of himself appeared just behind her eyes. He told her he would be there inside as well,
and that he would guide her back to him from there. But she must go back to her husband and
family, she must learn to love the world she chose to live in and yet be not of
it. She must learn to remember her true
origins even while living away. He told
her when she was able to do this she would realize her beloved country was
inside her the whole time, and that when he knew it was the right time, he
would reel her inside herself and into his arms where she would remain forever.
finally rose and, wanting to please her beloved comrade, she returned to her
village and followed his suggestions as best she could, treasuring the knowledge
that she would be going to her true home soon.
She left elated, lifted up, touched by heaven. She felt as though she had merged with a wave
of pure compassion and bliss. He had promised
to take her home, and she believed him. She
believed him so strongly that somehow, in some strange and wonderful way, she
knew she was already there.
returning to her village she took up her householder life with grace and an
ease in her being. Now she knew why she
was never quite happy in this new land, lovely though it was. She finally understood why no matter what she
did or tried to do she could never be totally or completely happy. This world wasn’t designed for that. It was designed for change, like an
elaborate, extravagant play. It was
designed to illicit different feelings and reactions. No feeling ever remained, and yet now she
knew why. This country was truly entrancing
and enchanting and it made one forget life outside the theatre. But she knew now that she would be returning
home in due time. So she endeavored to
simply enjoy the play, to love its characters and scenery but not so much that
she forgot her beloved comrade.
of the characters ever seemed to remain on stage for very long, and rarely did they
do what she wanted them to do anyway.
Some of her favorites would be suddenly written out of the script and it
would outrage her. Other times the
actors and actresses would step into the seats and hand out treasures and Sawol
would laugh and stuff her pockets. Once
back at home she would brood over losing them or having them stolen. Same with the characters she loved. She had grown to believe she actually
possessed them and could make them do her bidding, but that was all part of the
play. Somewhere, behind the scenes, her
beloved king and queen were orchestrating the whole show.
By and by
she began making preparations for her journey home. She remembered the names her beloved comrade
had told her. She remembered his name
and the names of her parents and friends and her heart swelled with joy and longing. She kept their names inside her mind like pieces
of the sweetest candy in her mouth. The
more she remembered those names, the more she saw her beloved comrade in her
mind’s eye, the more she ached to be with him and to go home, and strangely the
more she truly loved her family, for she began to see her husband, children,
and neighbors like herself—explorers looking for home.
The longing in
her heart for her true home was terrible, but she bore it with dignity knowing that
this was a choice she had made and that she must finish out what she had
begun. Some days when she was
contemplating her comrade’s image she would hear music and see fantastic
lights. And the sound would pull her,
draw her, and she would feel as if she were drifting on a current of bliss, and
then something or someone would draw her back and she would have to get up and
tend to some business, but the fragrance of that sound and light lingered in
her heart and mind. And even though she
would be temporarily crushed at the parting she knew that the parting was an
illusion, for that music and light were the true realities in her life. They were the changeless, the eternal, and
somehow they were wrapped in her beloved comrades image, they radiated from his
eyes and voice, and she loved him in ways like no other, and she no longer felt
ashamed to sing his praises even though those around her sometimes felt
threatened and jealous by the intensity of her devotion. Sawol was home and she was going home, and
this great paradoxical wonder kept her steady and strong the rest of her days.
Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog