Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Home is where our hearts are

People seek thrills, excitement and adventure, and those are precisely the reasons why activities such as bungee jumping and drag-racing are becoming increasingly popular. People looking for exotic elixirs, or whopping deals haunt the shopping mall. But sadly, society forgets, or rather, discards the idea of home being anything but dull and unexciting, unable to offer new and brilliant things to stir us out of our listlessness. This is not true at all. Home is a place of love, comfort, unity, shelter and refuge.

The modern day’s preconceived notion of home shines the spotlight on all the wrong places, and deliberately belittles the very attributes which make it a home. Home is not dull. If you were to pay my family a visit, you’d agree with that statement. Uproarious noises made at the farthest end, echo through the entire house! Children will play, you know, and whether an accident or mischief turned all wrong, spillage, mess and destruction are sure to occur. Since when were sofas made of boisterous-kids rip-free material? Kids especially love ‘tip-toey’ games, the sort that requires sneaking around parents etc. Unfortunately, they occasionally fail their missions, and crash into parents serving guests with hot coffee or tea! I think my mum might go so far to say that more adventures are to be found at home than elsewhere.

But even in a home where there are no children, adventure may still be found. The thrill of adventure comes from the fact that a rare opportunity is a rare find, each coming of it to be cherished. An everyday occurrence ceases to be an adventure. Old couples look forward to the arrival of their nieces and nephews if not children or grandchildren, because they do not get such a visit every day. The excitement of a visit for them is equivalent to the average adult’s thrill of standing on the verge of a cliff and being told to jump, with a safety rope attached to them. It is probably the most they can manage anyway, at the time of their lives. How can people call home boring? Either anticipating the rush of air the body plunges down, or eagerly awaiting the long dreamed of arrival of grandchildren and drinking in the deep pleasure the smiles and antics those kids bring- causes the familiar head pounding and blood racing sensation. It is no wonder grandparents sink back in exhaustion after a bout of ‘post-visit flu’.

Over-excitement wearies a young body, so how much more will it weary an older person? Home is meant to be a place of relaxation, of rest. No one can possibly rest in a home filled with noise from morning to night. The opposite indeed will happen: the family’s stress level rises. The ideal home is a quiet house, warm, comfortable and friendly. Did you know houses can be friendly? We can step into a house and immediately sense whether we are welcome. A bright, cheery and warm tint to the house enhances the hospitable reception given to a guest. On the other hand, unfriendly homes cause goose bumps to creep along the upper arm. The host/hostess may actually welcome us the best they can, but still, there is this feeling of antagonism about the house, a feeling undefined, but there. The house usually reflects on the owners, too. The furniture arrangement, the mix of colours, whether warm or cool, the layout of the house, and the tidiness, all contribute to defining the owners and the way they live. “See a bear in his own den before you judge of his conditions; come, live with me and you’ll know me.”

Another aspect of home that people take for granted is its comfort. Imagine coming home from work on a wet and blustery cold night, shivering from top to toe, and you turn round the street corner in expectation of seeing the warm glow of a little house with the pretty bit of shrubbery at the front, but instead see nothing, absolute desolation. Well I don’t know about you, but I would certainly value my home a lot more after spending that freezing night out in the streets cold, dirty and lonely. The value of the little dear, quiet nook near the chimney place, albeit so ‘boring’ would inflate sky-high …

There is always a certain sense of security about home, which can never really be done away with. It is our den- the place where we bathe, eat, sleep, and relax, and do the other nitty-gritty details which make it a home. One may stay in a fantastic resort, or indeed even a luxury hotel for 6 months, and yet I guarantee that at the end of those 6 months, the urge to go home will be strong as if you just finished work, weary and hungry. Why? For one thing, a resort, however fantastic it may be, does not have the same security as a home. You own the home. You know it inside out; you arranged the furniture, and everything in the house belongs to you, barring a robber’s den, which gives you a sense of comfort and security. Your home will be there. Its location will not change, and neither will its objects. However, in a resort, you only have what you brought, and even 6 months of familiarity with the place will not change the innate desire for home, the burning sensation which eventually drives you to pack your bags and leave for home.

However, the most important thing about the home is neither the furniture, nor the beauty of the garden, or even the warm fuzzy glow the hearth emits. No. The most valuable thing about home is the relationships you build in it. We share our home with family, children and relatives. To invite someone into a home is to offer protection and care. The host/hostess trusts the guest. To harm the family after partaking with them is treachery of the blackest kind. After a long day with strangers, we like to return home to dwell in the love, protection and care of our family, and have them fuss over us in concern. This sort of attention we can never have enough of. We desire to be close to the people we love, to share our security with them, to help them and care for them. That is what a home is ultimately made of- deeply forged relationships that will last, even beyond the structure of the house.

Home is where our heart is. Probably where our heart is, our future is too. Jesus knew this when He observed, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our family is our treasure, and our heart naturally follows after what it longs for. Family is home. Home may seem dreary without all the alluring excitement of the outside world, but it is ultimately the best place to be. To be among family, friends, familiar objects, and have our own particular tastes and desires gratified in everyway- isn’t that what we all want? Even in our search for excitement and adventure? Realize the value of your home, for there is nothing quite like home.

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