Saturday, April 14, 2012

Home (Ah Home. Let Me Come Home. Home is Wherever I'm With You)

I get it. I think I finally understand why home is so important. There's a reason it's been repeated at least once a week 52 weeks a year 20 years of my life.

I've been so burned out lately. I didn't want to study, or do homework, or care at all about d-a-m-n residents (spelling it out makes it not a swear word, or so says Papa Jim). All I've wanted to do is go to the gym, and cook, and sleep, and read. I couldn't go home for a full weekend, but as I was sitting at the computer on Thursday, near tears, I just decided to leave.

I walked straight out of that d-a-m-n library, cancelled my Friday morning appointment with my English teacher, and drove home. Drove home like a bat outta hell. Like a reporter after a story. Like my brother when he sees a Cadbury Creme Egg.

I can't exactly describe the feeling of home. It's different for everyone I guess. I picture them in colors. Some homes are a full soft orange. Golden brown orange, something akin to baked sweet potatoes. They're busy and loud and noisy. Mine is cooler. Quieter.  Light blue/grey dryer sheet that softens the edges of a hard day and absorbs my insecurities.

Walking in that front door, a blue door with a star scratched in by my younger self, felt so right. I hadn't even told anyone I was coming home. For once this wasn't a trip for me to socialize and catch up with a bunch of friends. I just wanted to be with my family and do homework in the uninterrupted peace of my basement. Going home was my secret last resort, a little piece of relaxation I wanted all to myself. Have you ever read The Wanderer? It's about a girl who goes on a boat trip with her family, in a little boat they built. In it she describes a pair of socks (of all things.) I can't quote it directly but she basically says: "everyone hoards one pair of dry socks. you keep it and protect it and when you can't stand the dampness one second longer you slip on that dry pair and ahhh, relief." That's exactly how coming home felt.

I guess if I didn't have a home to return to I'd find some other way to manage. I'd find solace in something else, maybe have a good cry, and turn to my friends. But I don't think I could find the same kind of satisfaction and rejuvenation that I did from that little brick house with a big garden and twisted driveway. Before, my obstacles were insurmountable. Now, I they just look like a long walk uphill, one that I have the energy for.

I get why I hear so many church leaders talk about the sanctity of a home. I don't care what a home is to you; I know they're as varied as the people on the earth. I don't care if you have one parent or two, one or eighteen. I don't care if your home is a shack, a mansion, a bookstore even. Everyone needs to have a place to retreat to and feel welcomed. Having a place that holds people who've promised to rely on each other, to build each other, to make those rooms (or room) a place of peace and safety is as close to heaven as I think we can get.

Whatever I do in my life, however I break up my days and spend my time, I want to be sure that part of it is spent participating in and creating that little piece of imperfect perfection. Maybe I'll do this with a full-time career, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll do it with a bunch of kids, maybe I won't.

Thanks to the people who've made sacrifices so I could have that pair of dry socks. After a long, wet semester, they were much needed.

P.S. Papa Jim, you crying yet? Not my goal. But a bonus.

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