In my last post I talked about slowing down. We have to slow down for many reasons in life, I had to slow down because of an illness. I would like to propose that instead of waiting for an illness or other unexpected event to cause us to have to take life at a decreased pace, we consider putting the brakes on intentionally. One of the things that I learned how to do in my illness is to embrace home.
The world has so many beautiful, exciting, and entertaining things to offer. It is so easy to feel called and pulled to experience as many of those things as we can. There is even an acronym, FOMO, which stands for Fear of Missing Out, the essence of which haunts too many of us too often, to “get out there and live life to the fullest!”. And living life to the fullest is a good thing. In fact St. Irenaeus of Lyons even tells us that, “The glory of God is man fully alive”. But how often do we stop to consider what being fully alive means? Sometimes it does mean something active and highly engaged with the world and all that it has to offer. Sometimes it is something quieter.
I enjoy engaging with the world. I enjoy going out and doing things, having experiences, trying not to miss anything! So when I got sick and went from playing tennis with my daughter a couple days prior to barely being able to get to the kitchen it was a shock, to say the least. For awhile I was so sick that I didn’t care where I went, or if I went anywhere at all. However as I gained more mobility and eventually started driving again I realized that I was not as driven to get out and about as much before. In fact, I actually realized how content I was at home.
While I had always liked my physical dwelling, my house, I saw it more and more as our home. It was where we ate, and slept, and laughed, and cried. It held so many memories and the potentiality for so many more was held there too. We played and worked in our house, loved and lost there too. Our beloved dogs lived with us, and two even died peacefully in our home. I got sick and am recovering there. Our house, our home, was the container for our lives and I learned to relish it, to embrace it, as it embraced all of us day in and day out.
More often than not now, our home is where I want to be. It is not perfect, it is messy sometimes, it smells like our dogs sometimes, last night’s dishes might still be in the sink from time to time but it is where those that I love and love me live. It is where we most intimately share our lives. It is where we find comfort. It is where we can all be most ourselves. It is truly where we can be fully alive in the most important ways.
So, while the wide world is wonderous, exhilarating, captivating, thrilling even, your home, my home, is all of these things plus a million more things that are so sacred and life giving that they are impossible to give words to. I know that sometimes home doesn’t always embody these things I am speaking of and if it isn’t please work to make it so. If you need help making your home the place that is sacred and life giving for you and your family, please find it. Sometimes it is just a matter of changing perspective, but no matter what you need to do so – embrace home.