A roof over your head, a place to sleep, is not necessarily a home. My tone was not warm and loving as I snapped those words at my best friend and spouse. I was more than slightly touchy on this topic as we approached Christmas, the season where the Christ Child left his heavenly home to sleep in a manger. No comfy bed with clean sheets for the savior of the world. And no real home, not even a roof over their heads, for the refugees fleeing the war in Syria. Dark-eyed sad children, tired, hungry, truly homeless. They’d be happy to have any shelter with the welcome mat out. Not greedy for a home, just longing for safety.
But a home is more than shelter. A home is more than a roof, a comfortable bed, and hard to describe. For some a home may look like a photograph spread in a magazine. For others, it might be a cottage by a lake. For some it may be an RV, a home on wheels. For those who have been homeless and longed for a place, it could be a small, sparsely furnished apartment. Home is an emotion. It is the leap of one’s heart as you unlock the door and step into a mansion, a mobile home, a three story renovated house, a one room condo. I have had one son close to homeless. And while he now lives in a small apartment, he does not feel as if it is home. He did not choose it. He is grateful for it but it is just where he lives. It is a dwelling place, not a home.
I have never been close to homeless. I have always chosen where I live. Some of those dwellings were home for me. Some were simply where I lived. I heart-thrived the years I lived next to a lake. I loved the large Craftsmen styled home I left in North Dakota. I have lived in our current mobile home for nine years but it has been a dwelling, not a home. This year I am going to thank God for this small home and treat it with love. I am going to love it into a home. It will begin with a room by room decluttering. I will add touches of beauty. I will pray as I go through this process. I will live in gratitude for this slightly worn, in need of repair place. And I will celebrate each small step in finally claiming this as home. What makes a place a home for you? Please do share.