"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Define “Home”

Posted in Day-To-Day, Questions For You by matt on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My understanding of the word “home” is a bit mixed up nowadays… I have a case of the nomadic blues. I mean, I have so many friends and family that either already have or would surely take me in at a moment’s notice, but that doesn’t make any of those places home.

My dictionary defines home as “the place where one lives permanently. Esp as a member of a family or household.” Whelp…guess that leaves me out of the loop.

Da says that home, according to Robert Frost, “is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” But I feel like living around compassionate Christians has given me lots of places like that but still no singular, set place to call home.

My concept of home has become so indistinguishable that I can call a random hotel in Laos “home” just as quickly as my parent’s house in Texas – why is that? I’ve always been able to refer to home as the place where my immediate family lives with total confidence, but now that I’m graduated and far away I don’t have that strong sense of home. I’m especially feeling it now because my family just left my home to go back to theirs. My sister and I are getting married, they’re moving from Wichita Falls to Dallas, Dad’s got a new job, and so many other things are happening that I’m completely detached from. It’s just not there anymore.

So how do I define home? I could go spiritual and say my real home is in heaven – which is true – but what about here, now? Do I just not have one?

I’d really like to hear a few definitions or thoughts on the word “home”, because right now I’m drawing a major blank. I’m not as melancholy as I sound. I’m just a little…adrift. This instability is stretching me.

10 Responses

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  1. Melissa said, on Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Dear Matt:

    I do know how you are feeling about the home issue. When my mother passed away and her home was empty, I quickly realized that I had not home. I still drive by that home when I’m in Midland because I lived there for over 20 years.
    So, my new definition is where I live is my home. It has my stuff in it, my personality, my family. I think that when you get married, this will all work itself out. Home is where your heart is. It’s the place where you can go and be yourself. It’s the place where you come and just know that you are home. When you move, it takes awhile for it to feel like home. It does happen though. While in Thailand, do something in your dwelling place right now that will make it feel like home. Put a pic of your family right by the front door. You guys are so close. Placing photographs in places where you can see them and think of them helps. Don’t lose hope. You do have a home, it is the one you live in. Make it your own.
    When your family moves, it’s tough. I’m sure they would tell you that their home is your home until you are married and then it’s your second home. So see you will have 2 homes. :)
    I am praying for you. Mel
    (I’m home sick today, so thus this is why I am writing early in the morning). Good ole sinus infections…fun!

  2. sharethewell said, on Friday, October 24, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Yo matt.
    Home always sounds funny. Because people throw it around all the time. I can say “I’m going home,” and it can mean so many different things, depending on where I am. It could mean 1506 James B, it could mean North Carolina, it could mean the U.S.

    But sometimes I think that home is less of a physical setting and moreso the atmosphere created by people closest to you.

    eh, so there’s a thought.


    ps – you should reply to my recent blog. :)

  3. matt said, on Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks both of you for the thoughts.

    I think Mel’s advice about doing something to make it feel more like home is good, and I like Audrey’s idea about it being an atmosphere more than a physical place.

    Audrey, you’re so metaphysical =)

  4. Melissa said, on Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    By the way, where’s my postcard??

  5. matt said, on Monday, October 27, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Haha, I’m working on it! I haven’t consistently been in the same country for quite awhile.

  6. Mom said, on Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Matt, this is Mom. In a few months home will be where Cayla is. Love you.

  7. Da said, on Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Home is wherever Lori, your mother, is. Da

  8. matt said, on Friday, October 31, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Hahahahahaha. You guys just made me laugh out loud in the computer room at work. Thai teachers are glancing at me awkwardly even as I type this.

    I love it. I love you.

  9. Da said, on Friday, October 31, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    R. Warren wrote, “When you die, you don’t leave home, you go home.”
    I’ve always liked this quote. BTW, I used your home article in a funeral today (10/31/08). halloween funerals just seem to need a Matthew touch!

  10. Angela Snyder said, on Monday, November 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm


    When asking where is home I too have questions. Although I am not currently in another country, I have been. Home is (as corny as it sounds) where your heart is. Like your mom said, Home is where Cayla is. For me the physical shelter (1136 W. California, Seymour TX) is a house not home without my loved ones. I have homes everywhere that my heart is. (Ecuador, France, Japan, etc) Cheesy I guess, but that’s just my opinion.


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