A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body." --Benjamin Franklin
"It was good to walk into a library again. It smelled like home." --Elizabeth Kostova
“Happiness doesn't lie in conspicuous consumption and the relentless amassing of useless crap. Happiness lies in the person sitting beside you and your ability to talk to them. Happiness is clear-headed human interaction and empathy. Happiness is home. And home is not a house--home is a mythological conceit. It is a state of mind. A place of communion and unconditional love. It is where, when you cross its threshold, you finally feel at peace.”
Home means different things to different people. For some unfortunate souls, the word conjures the scent of bitterness and pain, insecurity and fear. Most people, however, smell fresh-baked cookies, warm wood, and safety from whatever mysterious monsters are "out there." Home can be a place of refuge and recovery, nourishment and nurture.
Home is important. Home is here.
I had no idea how divided I felt over my home until I unloaded the extra one. Monday night, we finally closed on our old house. What a weird experience this move has been, a Dantesque Limbo, perhaps, or, even better, Purgatorio. It was a long time of transition, moving stuff and moving hearts to arrive at a place called home.
I'm here now, and finally moving forward.
I think George is here, too, especially when we sit on the patio and listen to the birdsong and breeze rustling the leaves, and saturate ourselves in green.
Jack is here. On his last visit at the old house, I said, "We're saying goodbye to the old house." So he walked up to the closed garage doors and told the house it was a good house and he would miss it. And then he got into the car and buckled up. "Are we going home now, Mom?"
Yes, Jack. We are.
Nick isn't here yet. Poor child. His heart still feels divided between the old house and new. He misses the old, and letting it go requires a period of grief for him. His time in Purgatorio isn't over yet, which breaks my heart, but he'll get here. Eventually.
My task now consists primarily of nurturing this brick building into something comfortable and useful, a place of communion and unconditional love. A place of peace. A place that smells of books and food and hearth fire. A place we all, including the reluctant Nick, call home.
Are you home? Why or why not?