I have lived in many homes – not only were my parents divorced – they lived in different towns and my mother often moved to new towns – and she often moved us to new houses. We moved with a regularity which made becoming overly attached to a home difficult. But there are a few homes which stick out with greater significance than others.
The milk house for example – literally – it was a milking house for cows before we lived there, it was re-purposed before repurposing was a “thing”. I slept on what occurs to me now was a “shelf” attached to the wall. My mother insists that it was built to be a bed, all I know is it was a wooden “shelf” like thing attached to the wall and that my brother, who slept on the top “shelf”, had to have a scarf tied around the metal pole above him, so he would stop banging his head on it when he woke up in the morning. There were also rugs used as walls, a dirt floor, a traditional wood burning stovetop (like Anne used), no electricity, no running indoor water, and long iron bars which held the building together and were perfect to hang upside down from like a bat.
This home was my childhood paradise, the happiest place I had ever lived. I loved the rock upon which the milk house stood, lichen covered and mossy. I loved the view down to Stark’s bog, the little bitty leech infested lake along the edge of the property. I loved the spearmint plants that grew along its edges releasing their great wafting scent as we stepped over and through them on our adventures. On days when, we were truly brave, we drove into the water and swam as fast as we could toward the lopsided dock out in the lake – trying to outswim the leeches. But we still found them attached to legs and cheeks and forearms. We compared their size and girth and gritted our teeth as we removed them and observed the blood red birthmarks they left behind.
Home, however, is a subjective illusion. If you asked my older sister about this home– she would elaborate more about the times we were left alone in our milk house on the rock – a 12 year old, a 11 year old and a 7 year old alone on a rock in the boondocks packing water in bulgy blue camping jugs to and from school so that we could make dinner and clean our faces – all while our parent and step-parent partied many kilometers away – at least a few hours and a ferryboat ride away. She might relay the tales of drunk and stoned guests, the shouting matches she had with my step-father regarding almost everything. My brother might tell half tales like mine and half tales like hers but then again his might have more to do with having to light a fire in the stove with wet logs and fresh cut kindling, or about making us oatmeal and fighting the persistent steam dragon who bubbled up from the depths of the porridge pot every morning before I was even awake. Home is a sweet illusion, a neglected shack, and a grand adventure all in one. Here, home is also easily swept away from a child– for her “own” good, for the good of all, or for all the right reasons or …not.
Home is temporal and shifty. As much as we long to dig into it and carve out our safe space – there are holes and leaks and tsunamis and terror which will drive us or others away. These events can play out on television screens or behind closed doors -regardless each reveals the truth that no home is safe. They can be good, bad, rich, poor, muddy, dry, cold, hot, moldy, or pristine but they are not impregnatable. The home of the heart cries out for wholeness and we are full of broken. In this we are the same regardless of circumstances. Our hearts are not wrong, we are made to find wholeness, but we so often look for it in the wrong places.
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis
Also wise unicorn by the name of Jewel is quoted as saying:
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!”
― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
So there is hope yet.
The #wholemama word this week is: Home Follow me over to Overflow to read more stories from lovely #wholemama storytellers.