“How essential it is…to be able to live inside a mind with attractive and interesting pictures on the walls.”– William Lyon Phelps
Over the last year most of us have spent more time at home than, well, ever.
When we’re home for too long, some of us get an itch we can’t scratch, until we’ve gotta get outta the house. Others love our cocoons and have nary a desire to budge.
On the other hand, after being away from home for an extended period, we miss home. “I can’t wait to get home,” usually followed by “and sleep in my own bed,” we say.
But when you first walk through the door, you notice that something isn’t quite right. It doesn’t feel lived in. It doesn’t have its homey smells. It’s awkward at first. Your home isn’t home, just yet.
Then, there is the moment, following a crisis or trauma when we sadly say, “I don’t want to go home just yet,” because we know that reality lives at home. And sometimes we’re just not ready for reality.
To some of us, home is our homeland, where we were born or grew up. That home brings with it a whole slew of emotion, acknowledged or not.
Why do we want to stay home, or come home? Is it because that’s where the things are that define us, that remind us of who we are; and reassure us that all is well?
When does a house become a home? I surmise that a house becomes a home, when you’ve invested your soul into it.
After all, it has been said since the time of Pliny (Rome 23-79 AD), and popularized in the USA in the 1800s, that “Home is where the heart is.”
This might be why there is such a lot of emotion bound up in the buying and selling of homes. Perhaps home is the seat of memories and the place where we reconcile our past and plan our future, while living in the present.
Does home mean a house? Or, is home, where you are?
When I taught college-level Marriage and Family classes, my theoretical focus on the family, was where we are now; not where we were or where we might be, but where we are and where might we go from here. Home, as one’s state of mind is really about being real, genuine, flawed, and a variation of normal – not some ideal, fake, dating site model of perfection.
Home, is not always a concrete place built of brick and mortar, sometimes it’s the state of your soul. Is your home a comfortable, safe place, filled with diverse contributions of this thought, that idea, a thing – or a zillion things, and people who’ve deposited bits of matter into the place?
Home is a tapestry that tells a coherent story on the front, but underneath is a rather ratty, gnarly jumble of multi-colored threads that couldn’t possibly produce such a purposeful design, could they?
Maybe home is a literal building where we dwell. Or maybe home is an actual place, but inside us where the substance of who we are resides. More than anything, I want there to be “attractive and interesting pictures on the walls” of both of these homes of mine.
Furnishings and stuff are just reminders, cues, tokens of a life lived; things that assist with memories that remind us of experiences, along with the feelings those experiences stimulated – all of which are the substance of happiness.
How homely are you; how suited to the home? Does ordinary domestic life have to be unalluring, unaesthetic, or unattractive, as the most obvious definition of homely implies? Or can it be the other definition of the word, comfortable, cozy, snug, friendly, and welcoming?
What pictures are on the walls of your mind, your home? I think mine are fine art, all the dreamy impressionist paintings I’ve loved, highlighting gardens, flowers, soft brush strokes, and the colors of real life, muted but saturated and full of promise.
How are things at home? If you don’t see any pictures on your walls, please dream some, and make them homemade, custom art that reflects you.