My sister-in-law Susie used to sing Chantal Kreviazuk’s enchanting song Feels Like Home. She didn’t know all the words; she would just repeat “feels like home to me” over and over again, sometimes getting the rest of the chorus wrong and sometimes making it up. Like a leaf on the wind, Susie was a free-spirited person who went on many adventures that took her very far away from home. She passed away in 2008. I always wondered what home meant to her, what it felt like for her. I never had the chance to ask.
In an increasingly globalized society we’re able to travel to distant lands and live virtually anywhere in the world. Many of us move far away from home for college and work. What does home mean now that most of us live away from the homes we grew up in? What does it mean when we no longer inhabit the same small geographical radius where we were born and raised? In a world where the concept of home seems elusive or irrelevant, we need to renew a sense of home in our lives.
Home is not primarily about places, it’s about people. When we think about home, we usually concentrate on the spaces and places we share with our loved ones. So home is really about sharing our lives with those we love. Home’s wherever and whenever we’re with them. We’re home when we’re with our spouses, children, family and friends, wherever we are. “Honey I’m home” means “Honey I’m with you again.”
But places do matter a great deal. It’s not the primary sense of home, but it does have emotional significance. We’re attached to the places we grew up in and the places where we lived for many years. It’s important to sustain deep connections with certain geographical locations. We should cultivate these connections by returning to special places in our past. We should also find new special places in our present to live and grow. This helps give us a sense of home in a world of constant change and motion. But always remember that you can be at home anywhere so long as you’re with the people you love.
Last, before we feel at home in the world we have to feel at home with ourselves. We’ll never feel a sense of belonging and acceptance if we don’t learn to accept ourselves. Only after attaining inner peace are we able to feel at home in the world. A key to finding inner peace is coming to the realization that we belong to God and that “this is our Father’s world,” as the old hymn reminds us. God’s love for you can help you accept yourself and reach out to others in order to begin to create a personal sense of home.
What does home mean to you? What are the places in your life that you associate with home? Reflect on the special places in your past and present and think of ways to reinforce your sense of home in the world. What does home feel like to you? For me, it’s connected to sister-in-laws singing the wrong words to a hit song. It’s about family trips, hockey games, game nights, Tim Horton runs, and all the other fun and challenges of family life in a globalized society. Returning to and finding new special places will enhance your sense of home. But if you know who you are and with whom you belong any place will feel like home.