Home is where the shoes are…this theme got me thinking about the nature of ‘home’. I was at a Celtic Festival this weekend, and one of the performers sang a song she’d written about the sense of home she had about Ireland, but also the fact that her home is in Australia. It reminded me from my own experience that once you’ve lived in more than one city, town or country, home is never completely only one place again. You always have to leave behind some people and places and memories in another place. Once you’ve lived in more than one house, you have a similar experience. There are things & memories left behind and you may grieve that the house you once called home is now inhabited by others – usually strangers. And they might make changes to the place you called home. I’ve called eleven dwellings ‘home’ over my lifetime so far, one for 22 years and another for 7, while all the rest ranged from 6 months to 4 years. If you spent the majority of your childhood in s ‘family home’, then you were probably fortunate. Although homes are sometimes just houses that hold bad memories & we might be glad to leave them (and their other inhabitants behind).
We know they say ‘home is where the heart is’ and more than just dwellings can give a sense of coming home. From making some significant trips to country northern NSW, I feel a sense of home when I see paddocks, blue skies and feel the hot sun. Some say they have a spiritual home and I’ve felt that too. Of course, although some connect to place more deeply than others, houses are just buildings without the people & memories. One of my favorite movies is a forgotten 1995 American film directed by Jodie Foster, called Home for the holidays, starting Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jnr, Anne Bancroft, Dylan McDermott, Steve Guttenberg & a very young Claire Danes, among a cast of others. What I like about the movie is the clever exploration of the interactions between a very normal but very dysfunctional family of adult children & their families who return to their parents home for holiday festivities. When the adult children come into the home they grew upon from their adult professional & personal lives, they are thrust back into childhood family dynamics, memories, high school romances & the role of child to their parents. The various foibles & quirks of the characters are cleverly drawn. I always remember the father of the family pointing out to his daughter on the way home from picking her up at the airport, the dental hospital where his tooth extraction once went wrong. It reminded me of the quirks that can annoy or exasperate you, but that make family family.
Another show, this time from TV also came to mind. It was an ABC a TV show, apparently from 1983, about s group of troubled young adults who lived in a residential facility. Apparently a few people on the internet other than me remember the show’s catchy theme song that included the words ‘Home is where the heart is’ and ‘Home, home, home on the other side’. What the ‘other side’ refers to is unclear, but presumably not heaven! Perhaps for the troubled kids it’s their hope for a home on the other side of residential care.
Sometimes when I see the news and hear about the destructions of people’s homes in bombing raids and earthquakes, I wonder how so many people will forge on after this loss. How and where will they rebuild dwellings & lives? Will they ever feel safe & secure again? Homes can be a foundation for memories, a place of safety and refuge, a place to rest. What does having no home do to the psyche? We have many homeless people living on the streets of our cities & towns. I live in relative comfort & safety & Im challenged that while others remain homeless through war, disasters or their own circumstances or choices, what sacrifices can I make to my comfort to somehow give others back a sense of home?