“Home is where the heart is, so your real home’s in your chest.”
We’re on the 747 returning home from Bangkok as I write this. It’s a full flight and I’ve been thankful for the exit row seat and the distraction of a few movies and magazines.
Every now and then, the flight attendants rouse you from your grogginess to feed you like the witch fed Hansel and Gretel. It’s not been uncomfortable; though, I don’t know what Koreans see in the seaweed soup they gave us.
While it will be good to be back home, we find that we’re redefining what that means these days. Of course, there is the physical house in which we live – the bed in which we sleep, the things which whisper comfort to our spirits. We love our kids and will hug them all tightly to us. More than anything (certainly more than the memories or the physical aspects of the place), they define the comforts of home for us.
But now that we’re at an age where it’s appropriate for them to be leaving and eventually establishing separate homes of their own, the whole idea of “home, sweet home” is morphing into new shapes. When you strip away the family that filled your home, you’re left with a driveway, some furniture and maybe a few old pets tottering around. It can be a threadbare way to define home, hardly a safe place in a vagabond life. John le Carre said, “Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.”
In a way, all of us are strapped into something that may feel like this 747 – we wing our way through life in it; we may take comfort in it, and even some distraction, but it is as impermanent as the clouds we’ve been skimming over. In contrast, our hearts know that if home is anything, it must be somewhat permanent. In a country obsessed with youth and characterized by the temporal, our need for a place to call home has never been stronger.
When hell comes knocking and the house burns down or is repossessed by the bank, with my God and my relationships, I’ll still have a home. Life is harsh – we all need some hot tea by the fireplace to comfort us in its storms. I pray that you’ve got a place that feels like a safe harbor for you.