The modern definition of home is: “The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.” However, the word “Home” is rooted in the Old English word “hm”, which denotes a village or country estate where many “souls” congregate. The word, in reality, refers to the people not the property.
If you are fortunate enough to have a home, then you will understand that a home is so much more than the building in which you live or once lived. The house itself is the structure, the home is a composite of the memories, the people, the emotional attachment that this word evokes in your head.
A Home is More Than Just a Building.
Look at it this way, a tree is a tree whoever looks at it. Two people may look at a home and one will just see a physical structure, the other will see a physical location that contains myriads of emotions, memories, and relationships. One will be seeing a building that exists in three dimensions. The other will be seeing the fourth dimension as well (time), they will see what the place once was, is now, and could be in the future. They will understand what relationships once existed, exist now, and may exist in the future.
Sometimes this understanding of home is based on an illusion. An individual might have a longing for life as it once was in their memory. However the mind may have created an illusion of this far off happy time and place to protect the individual from memories that would not be good to remember.
There is a saying, “Home is where the heart is.” that was attributed to Pliny the elder, who lived between AD 23 and AD 79. The saying also appeared in J. J. McCloskey’s book named ‘Davey Crockett and Other Plays’: this saying shows how long this concept of the heart being the key to home has existed.
This brings us to “homeless people” who may not currently have a home as they have become, or feel they have become so alienated from that place that once was home. They may have a house, that is to say a place where they live, but still be without a home. A small wooden lean to that serves to keep off the rain might be regarded as a house, People may describe something that is little more than a garden shed as a house, but without the associations, relationships, and memories it will never become a home. The ad thing is that many of these homeless people are sorely missed in the home they once shared and if they could only overcome the false information their mind feeds them, they would be welcomed home.
So we out current quest to establish – what is the true meaning of home? – We have seen that home is both a physical place it has to include people and memories; it is not to much a location but a concept that lives within us.
The Difference Between a House and a Home.
A home will be more than just a place. The home is the embodiment of “How” we live and “How” we see ourselves. The home will evolve with changes in the way we live and as we turn the place into a center of happiness. Have you ever walked into a house and immediately had a sense of being welcome and comfortable. The place just “feels right”. If someone were to take an identical unit next door and place the exact furniture within it, it is unlikely they could recreate that atmosphere because the first structure is an extension of the personalities that live there, and the copy is lacking that magic. The memories, the associations that provide the warmth.
Defining Where Home Is.
The Pew Research Center asked 2,260 American participants to define the “Place in your heart that you consider at home” This survey took place in 2008 and produced some interesting results.
Where I am living now – 62%
Not where I am living now – 38%
From the above, the top places named were.
Where I was born and raised – 26%
Where I lived the longest – 18%
Where my family came from – 15%
Where I went to High School – 4%
57% – of these respondents say they have never lived outside their home state.
27% – of them have never lived outside their home town.
16% – have lived elsewhere in their home state.
Of these respondents that have stayed put family, love of their hometown, and a sense of belonging as the reason they have not moved.
I think to fully understand the reality of what is the true meaning of home? We have to be very open with ourselves and try to understand why we regard a particular place at home.
Home is clearly more than a building It is a special place that is ingrained in our heart that has emotional, and familial, ties. Memories connected to the ties are an important factor in deciding where home is, as is a feeling of heritage. (My family have always lived there). The length of time we have lived at a location is also a factor, probably because that is where the most memories have been generated. It is where important milestones of your life took place (My High School Years).
The feeling of belonging that was discussed earlier, that comfort, feeling of well-being, is more than likely influenced by the familiarity of the place, because of connections to people and memories that are invoked. Homes very often are full of photographs on the wall. Which each bring back remembrances of events and people?
The poet Robert Frost once said that home was the one place that had to take you in. Home is that interface between the inner you and the rest of the world.
Have you ever tried to book an airline ticket just before Christmas? In most case you will find the price has risen substantially because of excess demand, and in some case (cultures that have a greater sense of family) they are almost impossible to find. This annual pilgrimage of “Going Home for Christmas” is an opportunity to renew those links with family and maintaining a place in the structure of the family.
Peace and happiness to your home!