What is home? "A roof to keep out the rain? Four walls to keep out the wind? Floors to keep out the cold? Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father, warmth of loving hearts, lights from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship.
Home is first school and first church for young ones, where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind, where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick; where joy is shared and sorrow eased; where fathers and mothers are respected and loved, where children are wanted; where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned; where money is not as important as loving-kindness; where even the tea kettle sings from happiness. That is home. God bless it!"
THERE IS a magical place in our own private universe that stays at the core of our being no matter where our life's journeys take us.
It is where we seek refuge when the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune have become too much for the soul to bear. It is where we find relief when earthy frills and bodily ills gnaw at the very fabric of our flawed existence, and our mind becomes drained from the heavy task of struggling to survive.
Home beckons every time the child in us cries out from above the din of conflicting sounds and clashing egos. It is like an unseen hand that lulls us to blissful slumber, a veritable shoulder to cast our never-ending burdens upon, an invisible light that warms the innermost recesses of our hearts.
It smoothes our ruffled feathers, irons out the wrinkles in our overwrought countenance, repairs the chinks in our overused armor -- letting us forget our fears for the nonce, bringing us back to more transcendent times when we were children.
Ah, when we were children. Wasn't it the most pristine, most sublime period of our existence? The time of our life when all that we cared about was having the time of our life. When laughter was easy, dreams were for free, moments were tender, and troubles were a world away.
And home, sweet home, was the safest place to be. Inside its protective walls we were shielded from the inexorable pains of growing up, taking it all in, letting go. On its hallowed grounds we planted some good grain and sowed some wild oats. Its unblemished air allowed us to breathe generously the fresh smell of morning sunshine, the invigorating whiff of new mown hay, animals in pasture, flowers in bloom, soft breeze blowing from the horizon.
It is a virtual reservoir of the loveliest thoughts and fondest memories of our formative years, mostly well spent and devoutly to be wished for again and again; a haven where things and faces are warm and familiar, giving and nurturing, caring and everlasting. It bequeathed to us in no small measure the priceless gift of innocence, the heady feeling of mirth, the invaluable sensation of being forever young.
Home makes us crave for the food that fed the fire in our belly and stoked the flames smoldering timidly in our mind's eye. The satisfactions we derive from our ego-inflating conquests do not match up with the gentle mercies that home-spun nourishment and down-home country living provide. Nope, food for the gods simply does not compare with mother's best. The gastronomic habits we acquired early on we carry with us through a radical change in taste buds and epicurean preferences.
And the people we grew up with, they never leave our consciousness through restless time and unconquerable space. They are part of the constant fixtures in our lives, the ones we don't see for years on end but remain etched in the mustiness of our increasingly onerous subsistence, bringing us back to the wonder days when all that we deigned to see through our looking glass was heaven in a wildflower.
Aren't they the ones who stay with us through thick and thin, sick or sin, the rest of our lives? Did we ever wonder why, even if we try to, we can't shake them off our inveterate lifestyle in favor of those we encounter much later when we have become different persons? They come back to us, again and again, our childhood companions -- perhaps to remind us from whence we came, to keep our wobbly feet planted firmly on solid ground.
We make periodic visits to this beloved place where we gained our rites of passage -- like returning pilgrims or homing pigeons, like gypsies pitching tent for the night, or prodigal souls hungry for a feast. It is where we shed our superficial selves, repair our battered bodies, boost our wilting spirits, fix our tarnished psyches, mend our bruised emotions, change our evil ways.
It is where we find solace amid the sweeping expanse of blue and green -- sky kissing ocean, mountain cuddling river, rocks breathing new meaning to life gasping for air. Grass was never greener elsewhere, brooks were never half as luminous, the moon never shone as bright and lovely, and birds never chirped more carefree and happy.
It is that one warm spot in all of God's marvelous creation where we could be children again - feet up, hair down, laughter perpetually etched on our faces, never running out of tall tales and tickling; like goblins gamboling in the rain, romping in the mountains, running up and down barefoot on the shore, frolicking with nary a worry in the world.
Home makes us proud to be the persons we are today because of what we were when all that we had were dreams to spin, rainbows to chase, stars to wish upon, dewdrops to catch in the simplicity and buoyancy of our youth. It bestirs passions long laid dormant by peripheral distractions, letting it all break out, hang loose, fall free. And we always emerge the better for allowing ourselves to delight in the breathtaking vista of oft-trodden pathways and old, familiar places; the welcoming embrace of cherished faces; and the fond memories evoked by things not at all withered by time.
Indeed, more often than not, we stray too far to places unknown, too far and too wide in search of what we need, what we want, what we would die for just to have - and we return home to find it.
Copyright © 2006 Denn A. Meneses