For so common a word one would think it wouldn't have so vague and ephemeral a definition and elicit feelings ranging from warmth to dread to guilt to longing in those who hear it. But then, it is intimately linked with love, and of all words in the English language, love is the least precise and the most dangerous:
I knew I wanted it, and always thought I had it, didn't I get warm fuzzy feelings around Christmas? I think the whole world gets warm fuzzy feelings around Christmas, at least the young and the young at heart. I thought it meant a place of my own, where I could do my own thing and have some privacy and be alone. Oh so alone. That was no fun either. So if home isn't automatically found with your family of origin or in having your own life, where is it?
A quote from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, "not all who wander are lost," had become rather popular in certain circles some years back, and I used to really like it too, I still do, but it is very sad if you stop and consider the meaning. It was written about a man who is forced to wander because he no longer has a home, he might have a home in some distant, unknown future but there is no guarantee and he might wander forever for all he knows. We geeks know that it works out in the end, but he doesn't know that. He, like all of us, wants to find home. But where?
I have found it, at last, though I went kicking and screaming (or at least like Jonah, running as fast as I could in the opposite direction). I did not want relationship, it was scary, it hurt, it wasn't worth it. And like Jonah, I eventually got the idea (though hopefully with a little better attitude) that one cannot resist one's destiny indefinitely, you can run, you can balk, you can refuse, but you cannot escape, at least not without enduring an ordeal far more painful and difficult than whatever it is you are supposed to be doing. Such is the dreadful power of Love and Home! We are all called to it, most of us are terrified, for it is scary and painful and full of grief, but it is also the only thing worth doing and finding in this world and beyond. For Christ it led to Golgotha. Can we then expect our own journey to be free of sorrow? But it is a good sorrow, a grief that will one day die and leave only those things that last forever. It shapes us, builds us up, breaks us down, mends us, and mars us; it hurts to be shapen yet would we rather remain forever a raw chunk of marble or an unpurified lump of ore? Can we be useful, beautiful, or happy in such a state? Love demands what is best for us, and in this fallen sphere that means hurt and change. Home demands Love, for it is the key to that place we all so desperately desire yet all too willingly flee.