Your Hero’s Journey: Crossing the Return Threshold
It was a 90 degree day in New Orleans, Louisiana. Which meant it felt like 110 with the humidity. Humidity so thick, you could chew it.
We were finishing the last coat of paint on the last room of the three-bedroom shotgun house in the neighborhood of Lakeview. During Hurricane Katrina, flooding from the 17th Street canal floodwall breach inundated the neighborhood, as well as most of the Crescent City. This house, like many others, was a complete rebuild.
Just months ago when I visited, the original house was several blocks down the street, up against a bent telephone pole.
Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by the storm, and so many lost their homes. In the months and years after Katrina, the community – from all over the country – has come together in rebuilding efforts.
I was working with a newly fledged volunteer organization rebuilding houses. I had learned a lot that summer – from hanging drywall, to how to breath through the unbearably hot masks to protect you from mold, to how to make your paint job look even.
Of course, I was having lots of fun. I loved the people I worked with. I loved that I could see the progress of my work. I loved working with my hands.
But nothing compared to the look on the woman’s face.
Have you ever felt homesick, dear one?
I believe we all have.
Maybe even for most of our life.
Home is much more than an abode to live in. A town to identify with. Even a community you feel an integral part of.
We all crave to return to the home that is inside of ourselves.
I’ve found for many of us, in order to find that home, to really discover it, it requires getting lost.
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy couldn’t wait to skedaddle from her small Kansas town. But even though she yearns to go back as soon as she arrives at Oz, she must go through the Hero’s Journey to discover that the home she seeks has been inside of her all along.
This stage of the Hero’s Journey is where the Hero crosses the threshold to return “home” – or to the old world she originally departed from. Her purpose is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, integrate that wisdom into a human life, and share that wisdom with the rest of the world.
We are not meant to live in a vacuum or in isolation. We are meant to connect with our gift, to engage with our power, and a natural unfolding will occur so that we can share this with those around us.
So that we can bring the healing fully home.
It was a cooler morning a few weeks later. We were just stopping by to grab the last of our supplies – some old paint rollers and paint buckets we had left.
As we pulled up, we saw another car in the driveway. An older woman was working her way up the steps. She turned and looked at us, and then beckoned us to come to her. We got out of the car and walked up to greet her.
“Have you been inside yet?” my friend and the director of the organization asked.
“No I was just about to walk in,” she answered. “I can’t thank you enough for all the work you have done! We are so happy!”
But she did thank us. At least me anyways. The look on her face was more than enough.
The woman had tears of joy in her eyes as she walked over the threshold of this newly painted house.
Finally, she got to go inside. Finally, she got to come home.