A woman, a teenage girl, and a small boy sharing two blankets on the floor of an empty second floor apartment; home. A small, damp 8th floor tenement in the middle of bustling New York City; home. A one-bedroom motel suite lined with sleeping 9 sleeping bodies, lined with black mold; home. All of these things have been a home to me once and they have all formed my perspective on what a home really is. I’ve also called a two story house in the country home. I’ve called a trendy loft apartment in Los Angeles home as well. If all of these places have been home to me, then what actually is home?
When I was a kid, I would go to my friends houses and I always felt a little bit out of place. Their houses smelled like laundry and there were toys on the floor and book and movies lined the walls. Their backyards often had slides and pools and patio furniture that collected the dust from the air. It always seemed so strange. None of them compared to my houses (I had two of them). My mom’s house was tropical. There were two living rooms: one that was really nice and one that we were allowed to use. The backyard was full of hanging orange peels for making tea and stacks of pads and diapers for my paraplegic uncle. My other house was completely different. My dad’s house was an apartment just outside of downtown. There was a huge fountain with a circular driveway and a crystal clear pool inside of a white gate. Inside there was sleek furniture and it always smelled like a cologne commercial.
Looking back I can visualize all of these places and how home developed for me over the years. From those experiences I have learned one extremely valuable lesson. Sometimes, people will not understand your home. They will discredit it and tell you that it is not enough. They will say that there is not enough or there is too much. They will say that it is not suitable for someone like you. Our final home gets the same reputation. Our heavenly home is not suitable for us or, rather, we are not suitable for it. Yet, still, we desire to be there not because of what that place looks like or what amenities we will receive, but because of the love that is felt there. Home is the place where your heart lies whether that be a physical place, a person, people, or maybe even a memory. Our earthly “home” should reflect our heavenly home because of the love that we share with each other. Often we forget to love and that is why so many are struggling to find their way home.
Jonathen Blue is a teacher at Burton Adventist Academy.