Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Welcome Home

Past the threshold, the pace of life shifts. Light softens and the soothing quiet whispers to you to relax your shoulders and kick off your shoes. The faint spicy scent from a previous meal lingers in the air yet, and you realize you are famished. Interestingly, you are just beginning to realize how tired you are and yet the moment you walked in all the weariness and exhaustion has been lifted away. Reality is suspended or is faced. Welcome, you are home.
One of the best ways to describe home is that it's that shining beacon of light at the end of a long tunnel. The promise of returning to it makes up a lot of what keeps us going through the day. Mental pictures--of a couch and an unfinished book, a bed, a nice warm bath, a gently simmering crock pot of stew in the kitchen--keep us alive and kicking and able to go about our jobs and all other chores away from home. Even after a great vacation spent in fabulous places and elegant hotels, nothing compares to that precious moment when you set your bags down and throw yourself down on your own bed. 
 It's familiarity. Over time our home becomes imbued with its signature scents and aromas, variations and distributions of light and shadows, its own distinct areas of jumble and arrangements, and even a 'color' apart from what's on the walls. If you're very sensitive, you will notice these qualities present in a home, is so personal and characteristic, as to be found nowhere else. My parents' home where I grew up in has its own smell, a mixture of different things from in and out of the house that seems to linger in every single item in the house and heavily in air. So much so that when they send me packages and gifts, I only have to lift it to my nose, take a whiff and instantly recognize that familiar smell. If I close my eyes and let my imagination soar, I am at my parents' home, all over again.
There is a great song by country singer Martina McBride called "House of a Thousand Dreams." It's a bittersweet poem, a sad tale that I think, summarizes what a home is all about. Here are the words:

He says, “I’m just a man, I work with my hands
But lately no work has been around
I wish that I could put more on the table
Provide the life I’m sure my family dreams about”
“But there’s cracks in all the walls and all the windows
And the flies, they find their way in through the screen
I just pray that hope will go on living
In this house of a thousand dreams”

She says, “my husband’s a good man
Gives all that he can
I know he thinks he’s let me down
I just want him and the children to be happy
It’s not always easy, but it’s all I dream about”
“So I’ll find some yard-sale curtains for the windows
And I’ll sew some yellow trim along the seams
And I’ll keep praying hope will go on living
In this house of a thousand dreams”

The boy says, “my daddy’s a strong man
My momma, she loves him
And they love my brother and sister and me
Sometimes at night we lay out in the backyard
And take turns wishing on the first star we see”
“And the crickets always sing outside the windows
And I love to feel the wind blow through the screen
And I sure hope that we can live forever
In this house of a thousand dreams”
“Yeah I sure hope that we can live forever
In this house of a thousand dreams”
Home is that wonderful miracle of a place that is the keeper of everything that we are. Though imperfect, broken in some parts, unfinished, or a work in progress, it the place where we lay down all of ourselves along with everything else that is also broken and unfinished within us. 

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