Seven months ago Rick and I moved from our home of many years in Minneapolis to a new home in Charleston. This passage from one home to another was an enormous undertaking, overwhelming at times, but it was also a journey of joy, anticipation, and excitement. After these seven months, we’ve found ourselves involved with the adventure of creating a new place that we now call home.
The word “home” has long intrigued me. Full of emotion, desire, and longing, home characterizes our human yearning for love, acceptance, support, meaning, and belonging. As the late poet Maya Angelou said, “the ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Yes, we long to be home, and we long to live “at home” within ourselves, wherever we may be.
I’ve been reading about the thoughts and feelings of others who have pondered the meaning of home. For them, home can be characterized this way:
- Where you are with family, friends and neighbors and feel loved, accepted and supported. On the contrary, homelessness means feeling unloved, unseen, unheard, unacknowledged.
- Where you feel at peace, know you belong, and experience a sense of wholeness. Home is where you remove those uncomfortable shoes and be your needy old self.
- Where you can easily and freely express yourself and can say outrageous things without fear of judgment or anger.
- Where you can learn about yourself.
- Where certain roles, such as parent, instill a sense of home, as do rituals and traditions.
- Where spiritual practices that foster love, healing and health are performed and respected. These may include meditation, entertaining, reading, writing, exercise, cooking, creating, traveling, or whatever connects us to our deeper selves.
In reading these descriptions, it’s apparent that home is more than an external place. Home is within each of us, and connecting to its gifts of joy, peace, comfort, and love is a journey, an archetypal pilgrimage depicted in some of our favorite myths and stories. Its call is a universal one, but one that we take up individually.
I tend to think this journey never really ends. We can always mature, deepen, and open ourselves to the possibility of increased wholeness, moving us ever deeper toward our inner home. Though it requires work and courage, it’s a journey worth traversing.