Week of August 11

Where is your querencia?  

Do you know this word? It comes from the Spanish verb “querer” which means to desire or to want deeply. A metaphysical concept, querencia was first used in bullfighting, to describe the particular spot in the ring the bull would stake out where it felt strongest and safest during the fight.  It has since come to be understood as the place where one’s strength is drawn from; the place where one feels most at home and most authentically oneself.  In English, we might describe this as our “happy place,” but I don’t think that phrase does justice to the concept the way “querencia” does.

Where is your querencia? Where do you feel most authentic and safe, from where do you draw your strength?

Perhaps your querenciais not one particular place at all, but a person, or a series of places, or an act of doing. My husband said his querenciais on the soccer field—any soccer field in the world—playing his heart out. A friend of mine said it is when he sits down to play his guitar, wherever that is. Another said for her it is the happy work of toiling in her gardens.

I just returned from several weeks at our cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan, a place I have gone nearly every summer since I was born. It is where I connect with friends, have a chance to pause and draw breath, and check in with myself. In many way, this summer community in northern Michigan is as much a “querencia” for me as any earthly place can be— but even there I always feel a restless longing and vulnerability.  

Maybe that’s because, ultimately, no earthly place, no matter how safe or beloved, can totally remove us from the world, and all the challenges life brings. Maybe, in the end, our only true “querencia” is God, who is, paradoxically, both everywhere and place-less, totally intimate and utterly transcendent.  

We need our earthly “querencias”—thank goodness for them!--  but what a joy to know that in God we have an immovable Querencia from whom we can always draw our strength and breath, where we are always home and with whom we can always be authentically ourselves. 

Yours on the Journey,