Home…is it a relative term that we can all identify?
Home means so many things to so many people. I think back when I was working in Phoenix, and people would ask…where is your home? I would say Clemson. Now, when people ask where is home, I say Anderson, SC.
When I think of our home, I think of our 100 year old home. We think it is around 100 years old, at-least that is what the public records show…dating back to around the 1920’s. But I do know a few houses down the road have records dating back to the late 1800’s. Our house is old, but it is home. It is our place of security, laughter, triumph, growth, shelter, refuge, conversation, sharing, knowledge, companionship, grace, and hope. Our home has many different traits, but it is our home.
Rose and I were riding down the road the other day, she wanted to look at the pictures on my phone. She loves looking through some of the pictures I capture. Many times, she likes to find the funny videos of herself…watching them over and over.
As she begins to swipe through the pictures, she stops to look at one in particular. She asks from the back seat, “Daddy, this person’s house looks old and has no roof.” I was wondering what she was talking about, what picture is she referring?
You see, we have experienced lots of roof issues in our house. We have large oak trees with large limbs that like to fall and pierce holes through our roof. I am in constant battle, finding help with roofers, tree trimmers, and sheer will to manage the complexity of an old home and old oak trees.
I share this because, I thought she might have found a picture of the hole in our roof from the last time a tree limb feel. I have climbed onto the roof many times to document the damage, I thought she might be referring to one of these pictures.
I ask, “What are you talking about?” She replies, “There is an old house with half the roof gone and a lake behind it. Is this a play house?”
I ask her to hand me the phone so I could investigate. I noticed it was a picture I captured while walking back down the mountain in Cange, Haiti. It was a house on the side of the mountain. Half the roof was gone but there were items inside indicating someone lived there permanently. We could see inside through the walls.
I shared with her, “Rosebud, this is someone’s home in Haiti.” She was quiet for a minute and replied, “Daddy, that house looks very small with only half a roof. They must get wet. Where do they sleep? Where do they eat?” I replied, “Buddy, that is someone’s home and they must sleep on the floor and walk down to the lake to get water for their food.” I could tell she was thinking more about this conversation. She did not say anything else about the picture for the rest of the ride.
I have been waiting for her to ask more questions. I have been thinking about my response. I have been thinking about how blessed I feel. Not because our home is different, but how our opportunities are different. The place we call home is relative to our situation. I have many friends that have much larger homes. We have friends that have smaller homes. Some of our friends’s homes have newer appliances and larger spaces and some have items we do not have in our home.
I love our house. It is old, has lots of needs, character, challenges, and cuteness…it is our home. There is something about our old house that makes it feel like home. I am sure the people that live in the house pictured here have put equal, if not more time, energy, effort, and love into this house they call home.
As I have prepared my response to Rose when she follows up with her questions, I will be ready to share. I will not share a supporting narrative that paints our home as better, safer, or more special that the home pictured here. I will not create a divisive conversation of elitism that showcase the financial differences between having a bed versus sleeping on the floor.
I will share that this house is someone’s home, though it may be different…was built to be home to a family. I wonder, does the person whom built this house love this home as much as we love ours? I wonder?
This past week, families moved into their new homes at 61 Hills in Anderson, SC. This new development created by Homes of Hope, in partnership with the City of Anderson and the faith community, provides affordable houses to families in the Anderson area.
It was a wonderful experience to go meet and welcome these new families to the neighborhood. As we walked from door to door, meeting all the new faces…one family struck me. It was a mom and her children who came to the door. They were so happy and proud of their new house, and you could feel the love in heart for this opportunity.
Home is relative. We all desire to have a place to call home. We may look different, our houses may look different, but home is all the same.