A Different Kind of Homelessness
The saying is “home sweet home” rather than “house sweet house” and the reason is obvious. The idea of home is so much more than a place. It is full of intangible things like love, comfort, safety and a strong sense of belonging, both those who belong to me and those to whom I belong.
Sometimes I think that I am homeless. I waiver because I do have a roof over my head and I own more stuff than can fit into an abandoned shopping cart. Nevertheless, I think that homeless is what best defines me sometimes these days. Home for 30 years was a relationship with my person that was mostly warm and happy and that occasionally needed figurative redecorating or a fresh coat of paint. When Jim died, I began to lose my sense of home, although not entirely, because I still had the kids at home and that gave my life meaning and purpose. Now that I have emptied the nest, I feel a bit lost. I am not sorry for myself, but the economy in Southern California provokes in me an ire and a level of shame based on being marginalized as a single person. I feel trapped by my lack of income to create a new, safe space that feels like home.
Put another way, a house is a roof and 4 walls and a home is everything inside. Without the generosity of a friend, I would be without the house. I do consider it my home because I have things that make me smile, memories that show up in my sentimental collections. Losing that space and moving in with someone else would erase that making me homeless. I know I will always have family and former houses and homes that I can go to and for that I am humbly thankful, even though I cannot see how I will ever feel they are “mine”.
I long for the day when I will no longer yearn for my real home. There are many, too many, families around the world without a home. There are even more that not only do not have a home they do not have a house, a tent, a boat or a cave, etc. to live in. One day, soon I hope, we will join Jesus in the eternal home he has prepared for us. Then I will finally be at home!