I was born and raised near where I live now in North Carolina. My parents divorced when I was in high school, sold the family home, and made respective spaces and lives for themselves. No home there. After getting married immediately upon graduating from college, I moved eleven times – and I mean states – in eighteen years of marriage. No home there.
I recently sold my post marriage house. I lived there for seven years, the first three with my two sons. I roamed around that huge four bedroom house by myself for four years. When riding back through the neighborhood and by the house, it didn’t even feel anything remotely like “home” anymore. I’m glad to no longer be there because nothing about it fits who I am now. I’ve been in my new place all of a month. It doesn’t feel like home yet either.
So, feeling kind of homeless, displaced, and unattached to any structural home has got me wondering just where home might be for me. Home, I’ve determined, is not a physical place. It’s a feeling. It’s the comforting knowing and sense of calm and peace that I carry within me wherever I go and can tune into whenever I want no matter what the walls around me look like. Home is a state of mind. Sometimes, I have to consciously remind myself of this thought and consciously go looking for my home.
The song goes, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”
Pliny, a philosopher, said, “Home is where the heart is.”
Emerson wrote, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”
I wasn’t able to be with my two sons for Christmas this year. My youngest told me that he didn’t even feel the need for us to see each other because he could feel the love and connection between us regardless of the distance or time. So wise at thirteen-years-old. Although it would have been nice to feel their skinny arms around my neck, I didn’t feel an insistent need either. We are at home together always.
In 1995, my brother died on New Year’s Eve of AIDs. For years, I missed him terribly, tortured myself with the memories of his sickness and death, and wondered desperately where in-the-heck he was. Now, I meet him at home.
The physical circumstances of my life are always going to be in a never-ending state of flux. That’s just the way life is. I’ve learned not to be surprised by it anymore. Even when chaos is swirling around me, it’s nice to know I can always go home where it’s welcoming, loving, and safe.
BTW – I would change the saying to “Home is where the heart and brain are.” They kinda have to be in the same place, don’t they?
Happy New Year. Make it a good one! I plan to.
image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimjohnston/