Home: Nourishment for the Soul

Cover of "Belonging"

Cover of Belonging

Where is your home? Not necessarily the place you live right now, but the comfortable place you go to in your mind that says “home”. Home is one of my favourite words—it just feels, well, like… home. Home is the place where you are most comfortable, where you are most yourself, where you are not on guard. It is the place where you can put up your feet, and say ahhh! audibly without embarrassment.

According to Isabel Huggan, in her book “Belonging” there is “no word for home” in her newly adopted country, France. She said that “For a long time this disconcerted me, and I kept running up against the lack of it as if it were a rock in my path, worse than a pothole, worse than nothing.” But she found a way around it and used some variations in the French language to express “home” such as “notre foyer” which means “our hearth” or “notre maison”, which most of us who have a passing acquaintance with French know means “our house”.  But most often, she says, she uses the concept of “chez” which she says indicates both the “physical location and the place where family resides, or the notion of a comfortable domestic space.”

There is that word again: comfortable—and is that not the true essence of home? I don’t know about you, but when I am comfortable, it feels like home. One of the places my mind returns to when I think of home is my childhood home—the place where I grew up.  I was particularly “at home” in my bedroom—it was my sanctuary, shared though it was with my sister. It was a place where you could go to, shut the door, and be yourself. And the fact that it was not entirely my room just added to the “hominess”—it was a shared space. That is not to say, that home has to be a “shared space” to be home—but it is one of the derivatives for me at this point in my life.

Another place I return to as “home” in my mind is my room in residence when I was in second year at university. I remember very distinctly arriving back at the dorm early one morning, having driven in from Kingsville with my dad after having spent a Sunday at my other “home”—my parents’ house. My dad worked in Windsor, and had to leave early (5:00 a.m.—an ungodly hour for a university student if you are getting up and not just going to bed).  It was dark, my roommate was still sleeping, so I crawled into my narrow bed and thought about my life. I was caught up on all my assignments, I enjoyed school, I had lots of friends, I had a boyfriend—and life was good. I had just come back from a wonderful Sunday dinner the night before, surrounded by family. I was not only home, but “at home” in my skin.

This brings me to my current “home” and the Easter dinner I enjoyed yesterday with my immediate family. It was a wonderful family meal, though a little stressful for me in the making because the stupid prime rib refused to cook properly so ended up in the microwave {what sacrilege!} to bring it to a temp that would not kill us—but I digress. There was much laughter and kidding and despite my problem with the roast, good food.

An unexpected synonym for home in my thesaurus is the word “family”. Unexpected, but not surprising. Of course some of the other words for home are house, abode, habitat, or domicile. The latter is a lovely sounding word–I suppose partly because it reminds one of the word “domestic”, which my Encarta Dictionary defines as relating to home, or relating to family.

Home is where the heart is—a warm, if overused cliché, it really is an accurate description. Home can be anywhere, as Isabel Huggan has found. As a writer she has been able to do what she does “anywhere” and has found herself making a “house home” many times. Of her last move to Frances she said “And so it follows that I shall learn, as I have learned in other places to make this house home. Over time, I shall find out how to grow in and be nourished…”

That is what home is—it is a place we can grow in and be nourished.

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Published in: on April 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Home to me, is where you most feel like yourself.

  2. Me too!

  3. As a child I spent my summers staying with my Aunt in my mothers home town. I recently went back there for a visit and I was surprised how at home I felt. Surrounded by extended family – knowing faces and places from way back when. Home is where you are accepted as yourself. No airs and graces. No fancy stuff. You just are you.

  4. No airs and graces –wish I had said that. Welcome Ireland!

  5. [...] recent read called “Home: Nourishment for the Soul” by onthehomefrontandbeyond. This piece was particularly poignant to me since my husband’s job requires our family to move a [...]

  6. Hi LouAnn. Thank you for the inspirational article. When you have a free moment, please go to http://essaykaywrites.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/ive-been-tagged-a-spider-web-game/) to see a post in which you have been featured. I hope it brings you joy, and feel free to pass that joy around.


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