Sue and I have moved around a bit over the years. We’ve moved furniture and belongings from place to place, usually because of job changes, but once or twice simply because we had itchy feet.
I’ve done the count. Since I was a child I’ve called 15 different dwellings home, give or take one or two. Over the past 20 years I’ve shared seven different ones with Sue. Does that make us itinerants? Maybe. I don’t think we’re all that unusual. I wonder what the mean number of dwellings is over a lifetime? Some people stay put, I know, but many of us move every few years or so.
Of all those different dwellings, only maybe four or five have felt like home to me. These include the one where I spent my childhood; the one where I saw my children go to school and where they grew to adulthood; the one Sue and I first bought together; and the one we are living in now. The rest were comfortable places to eat and sleep, and where happy times were spent, but they were not home.
Home is comfort. Home is security and belonging. Home is tied in to who we are. Home is a place we can be creative and add small touches that are extensions of ourselves. Home is where we return to after our adventures. We miss it when we’re far away and we dream of it when we are in foreign places or in trouble (sometimes the two go together). We pay our guests a deep compliment when we invite them into our home
Home is far more than a possession. We have more than enough of those, no matter how poor we might think ourselves. Home is also more than just a dwelling. It includes our streets and neighbourhood, our local environment, and the people who share them with us. They all form part of our story.
Not all of us have a home though. I think of people who not only have no home, but who have no homeland and I am deeply saddened. I cannot forget that there are literally millions of people who have lost their homes and in many cases much more. I know that one person and even one country cannot redress all those wrongs. I also know that just as my family needs to take care who it invites into their home, so does a country need to exercise due diligence in accepting refugees. I am reminded though of the need to show kindness and hospitality to people who have recently arrived as refugees, just as we show the same to newly arrived next door neighbours. It can be a tough balance to get right. I can only hope for the necessary wisdom on the one hand, and compassion on the other.
I would like to share with you some images of our home district. I realise I’ve not balanced these shots with suburban traffic, litter and graffiti. I’ll fix that in a subsequent post. Our home suburb is in many ways fairly unremarkable, but it’s home to us. We love it, and most importantly, we feel we belong.