Four walls and a roof have always represented home to me. My first house, a two- bedroom, one-bath in the middle of a prominent Spanish-speaking neighborhood where kids played handball on the walls, contributing to the rattles that shook my living room every night, was the epitome of what home was: it was comfortable, it was safe and it was mine. But after moving twice, followed by moving in and out of college dorms, to residing in a new place during my present mid-twenties, I have redefined previous epitomes I had of home. Due to the extractions of my many different images, scents and atmospheric vibes that have contributed to the shaping of my definition of what home really is, it makes me wonder: is “home” something that takes us in, or is it actually something we take with us?
With the reality of being immersed in travel, busyness, Secret Santa’s and all things holiday, many of us will inevitably resort to our most natural human condition: the craving of home. Stripped of this simple four-letter word, we naturally desire the complex feeling of belonging somewhere, or even to someone. We need a breather, we need rest, we need home. And as we become surrounded by family and good friends this holiday season, an adamant, common yearn for cheer, for joy and rest shines through. This sparks the necessity of making “home” defined as less of a four wall structure, but as exceedingly long conversations with dearly missed siblings, learning to play four notes on the piano with your maturing nephew, or even cooking in the kitchen with your mother and grandmother. When we define “home” this way, our cravings are settled, our homesickness becomes well.
During this season, it’s important to reflect on the home that we have—those we find in our presence that give us shelter in ways a house never could. Surely, if we really look around, what surrounds us will build and craft that sense of cheer, joy and rest. And with that, we can have home anywhere. We take with us an attitude of being present and being receptive to others and even to ourselves.
C.S. Lewis sums it up best when he says, “One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.” The road to home is the road marked by acknowledgment that many things in our lives will change; our addresses, the color of our doors and the sizes of our bedrooms. Things that do not change are intentional gatherings that happen during holidays, on weeknights, or for birthdays. That is what home is about. Home is not only where our heart lives but also where our hearts desire to dwell.
What makes you feel at home?
Image via Oh Pioneer!