Home: noun -The place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives
The above, as defined by Merriam Webster, is what a home is supposed to be. I do not totally disagree, but I do think it falls short of what a home really is. I have lived in a lot of houses, but I have lived in only a few homes. I say this because to me, a home transcends a physical structure. It is more a sense then it is a thing.
Every year, when the holiday season descends upon us, something happens to most of us. We suddenly have this urge to return to a place that either plucks at our roots, or is of such importance in our lives, past or present, that we just have to be there. For those that are away, the migratory instincts kick in and thoughts of home, whatever or wherever it is, occupy a greater presence in our mind.
What drives this gravitational pull? Certainly, it is not a house, although that may be part of it. Many memories dwell within houses that played a starring role in our yesterdays, be it our youth, or our progression into adulthood. But it is so much more, and to me it defies definition because it is something different to each of us. Home never takes the same shape or form, even to other members of our family.
We have lived a lot of places over the years, and most were away from family, so home was something that was solely of our making. We loved a lot of the houses and were not as crazy about others, but looking back, I recall memories, fond or painful, about every one. But they were simply houses. Nothing more, nothing less. They required furnishings, the most important among them being ourselves. We created the atmosphere that made them homes. They were the base from which we ventured forth, always to return to the warmth and welcome. I felt this most when I had to travel. There was no stronger motivation then to return. This is because a house is only where the physical being dwells. A home is where the heart dwells. C.S. Lewis eluded to this when he said “To be on the inside of some door which we have seen from the outside”.
Our traveling days are over now. Friends and family are scattered, seldom gathering to renew relationships. Phone calls and emails now suffice for interaction. But I am OK with that. I still feel warmly about them all, and regardless of where they are, they still occupy a place in our home.
Life is a fabric, stitched slowly over the years. No two are alike and each of us is but a thread. Some are full of color, reflecting the sunlight of each new day, while others, over time, contain more gray and silver threads, that add a warmth and strength, while creating our own tapestry.
So to each of you, my friends and my family, my wish is that you are all able to return to your home for the holidays, be it in person or in your heart.
Originally published Dec 2012