I have been to Monaco once and was there a couple days.
The whole time I was homeless.
Meaning this: I didn't have the money for hotels and I slept outside, in parks, alleys, out of sight, but out in the elements. The pictures I have are quite fun; the reality, though, is a stark reminder as I start a new year. The reminder is this: it's possible to be in a place of beauty, but not belong to it. It's possible to be able to take photos, but never close the distance between photo and reality.
And I am more and more convinced that closing the distance is a big part of what it means to be engaged culturally and what it means to love another person relationally. Do you draw closer to those you care for or do you keep them at a distance? And if you're at a distance, do you refrain from being anyone's critic, because you're just too far away to see clearly?
Now, let's go to the other part of my experience in Monaco. I didn't belong. That was obvious by how I was dressed, by what was in my wallet, by a host of things. And scores of people in our world are wondering daily where they belong.
David Whyte, in his poem "House of Belonging" instructs us with this:
"This is the bright home