I use the same word to mean two different places and two different experiences. That word is “home.” Home means land and farm and growing up. It is the place where I am grounded, physically and spiritually. It is being someone’s child, someone’s sister. It is being known for who I am and who I have always been. When I am home, I breathe easier somehow. The air is clean and sweet, the water comes from a deep well, and the sky is bright with stars. We remember funny stories about our relatives and discuss genealogy. Things that happened in 1925 are just as interesting – maybe more so – than what happened last week. When I am home, my prayers take the form of sitting around the kitchen table, reading the paper and talking, a long relaxed breakfast time with a cup of tea and people I love. I sleep late, eat too much, and visit.
And then there is home. It is a place I have made, not a place where I was born into what others have constructed over the years. It is a small place, cozy and peaceful. Here I am a grownup. I pay the bills and make the decisions and buy the groceries. I take care of myself; I am responsible. I think that is how people here see me. Certainly they don’t see the little girl, with the big eyes and the skinny legs and the Mamie Eisenhower haircut, that I once was – and still am somewhere deep inside. It is hard to see the stars here because there is too much artificial light. I don’t visit folks very often and then almost never without calling ahead first. But I do visit and I do see the stars sometimes, and the air is crisp and cold and clear in the winter. And this place reflects who I am in the way it looks, in the food I cook, in the garden I have made and the way I spend my time here. No one would consider me a “homemaker” but that is indeed what I have done here; I have made a home.
They are very different, these two places that are both home to me. I have been so glad to spend time at one of them, and am equally glad to be back at the other.
And may this new year find you always at home, in that place where you are most yourself, where you are known and loved, where you are surrounded by that which reflects who you are and supports you in the full expression of all your gifts. Happy New Year!