Where is Home?

I’ve lived in the U.S. and South America, and have visited many other places. In some I felt a connection to the place and a belonging, while in others I felt no connection at all. Some were Home for awhile, but no longer.

What is Home, anyway?

We lived in Austin, Texas for many years, and regarded it as Home even after we relocated to California. Then, on one of our summer trips back, we found that the University campus had expanded. Obliterated were many of the blocks of old houses where we and friends had lived, and some of the streets had been redirected. We got lost and had to call for directions. At that point, we realized Austin was no longer Home. It was a letting go of a place where we no longer lived, even though we continued to visit. 

Why did it take so long to “move” from Austin to California?

Our recent trips nearly across the country have helped refine my concept of Home. We revisited Boulder, Colorado, where we lived for three magnificent years. Back in the early ‘90s, when I first saw Boulder it spoke to my soul and welcomed me. My heart sang. I felt a deep connection to the Place. When we left there I did so reluctantly. Going back last summer, some 15 years later, we found the place to have many superficial changes, as Austin had undergone. Underneath the crowd and the clutter, though, the resonance of the Place was the same. I just had to dig deeper. Finding an outdoor labyrinth with a view of the Front Range, I asked for resolution as I walked it. On the way out from the center, I had the clear feeling of closure, of saying goodbye to the Place – something I had not done before. Now, while I treasure the experiences of those years in Boulder, it no longer pulls at me.

Returning to California from one of those journeys, I talked about heading Home. Rev. Donna Belt, a friend and Chaplaincy colleague, asked, “What do you look forward to most about being home?” This question started a conversation about what is Home? I had to think about it. 

Donna thought that perhaps home is a place that for now is defined as a resting spot determined by where her grandchildren are. I like that. Home is where you rest. Its duration and location can change. 

Home, perhaps, is where you are. Our cross-country trip helped me realize, though, that I need a rooting place. “Home” is a place to root, and from which we can reach out in different directions. 

Donna countered that “we are our living homes – spiritually and in every other way,” and provided a quotation:

“When you believe that the truth is living, moving, that it does not have one home or rest in any temple, mosque or church… in short, that nothing can lead you to it – you will see also that you are this living thing in every respect.” – Krishnamurti

Another saying that comes to mind is, “Bloom where you’re planted.” This has been attributed to a wide variety of sources, including St. Paul and the Dalai Lama. It speaks of letting your roots go into the soil, of reaching up to the sun and sky, growing flowers or fruit, and spreading the seeds of who you are, where you are. 

Those quotations both ring true. Each Place is sacred in its own way, with its own gifts. Wherever we are, wherever each of us is, we are living temples of our own Truth. We bring gifts to the place where we are, and receive from it. 

Thank you. I Am Home.

Question: What do you feel that Home is?

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"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." - George Eliot
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi
"There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings – we all feel pain, we all feel joy, we all deeply crave to be alive and live freely, and we all share this planet together." - attributed to Gandhi
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