7 February 2008

Finding home

I was very busy at work this week. We're moving to a another building soon and I've been getting removalist quotes and finding out what we need to do to change our phone, internet and electricity, as well as going to the new building to work out where desks will be placed so our electrician can install new outlets. I've also been trying to get our financial records in order because our previous bookkeeper left, I'm the new bookkeeper and our treasurer is away. Add to that a report for tonight's committee meeting, dealing with our clients and interviewing new volunteers, and the three days went by in a flash. I'm going to take it slow today, go to the meeting tonight and get back to my work here tomorrow. It's good to take a day off from everything occasionally.

Some of the comments left are very special to me. I really love knowing when readers see a way to change and when they suddenly "get it". There was one such comment a couple of days ago: Jenn said...
I've been lurking about for a while now. Enjoying your posts on the simple things in life and thinking about life on the other side of the world. I have thought about this post all day! I often feel guilty for wanting to just be at home. But now I realize that is how it's supposed to be. My home is my HOME. It's where I am nourished, where I rest, where I pray and where I love.

That's right Jenn, you got it! Home is where you're nourished, it's not just a building.

When I had my eureka! moment, I suddenly knew that if I wanted to feel comfortable in my own home, if I wanted a safe and pleasant place to live where I could nurture my family and myself, I had to make that space myself. I had to make my home what I wanted it to be. This is one of the many significant and life changing things that you can't buy in any store, anywhere in the world. A home is not made with appliances, new dinner plates or big flat screen TVs. A home has a much more complex character than that. A home is the sum total of the work you put into it and the joy you get out of it.

For me, making a home meant developing a routine that met all my needs and then following that routine as well as I could. It is important to me to have a clean and comfortable bed to sleep in every night, so I make sure I make the bed every morning, the sheets are clean, there are enough pillows, we have books to read, a light to read under, cool sheets in summer and flannel sheets in winter. We also like having warm fresh bread for lunch, so I make that happen every day. Just after I make the bed, I start the bread so it's ready for lunch. Neither of us likes a dirty floor, so I sweep every day. We love having morning tea together on the front verandah, so I make sure we have a nice hot pot of tea and something home baked like pikelets, orange cake or muffins, or a million other things. I love organic fresh vegetables, so Hanno does a lot of gardening to ensure a reasonable supply. We like using good soap, so instead of buying "natural" soap for $3 a piece, I make it at home. Washing is hung out in the sun because it's lovely to look at, it smells of sunshine when it's brought in and it saves a mountain of money running the clothes dryer. I hope you get what I mean - we have identified what makes us feel comfortable and cared for and we make it happen in our own home.

But it is not only the work that defines a home. It is also the joy you find in being there. It is taking the time to relax and recover, as well as having a secure place to watch your family grow into strong and capable people.

Our home is where we are really ourselves. Sometimes we are weak here. It is where we are naked and vulnerable but it's also where we find our strength. We wear what we want, we sleep without fear, we wash, cook, eat, read, create and regenerate. We enrich our lives with our work because we know we are doing what it takes to make living here exactly what we want it to be. We see a reason for the work we do - it's not something we put off until it must be done, we do our work because it gives us our lives and our home. Whatever we put into our home in terms of housekeeping and gardening, we get back again ten fold.

So you see, your home isn't just the address you spend time at between work days and trips to the shop. Home is the place that will enrich your spirit and make it possible for you to gain the strength to live. And as Jenn so eloquently put it: "It's where I am nourished, where I rest, where I pray and where I love."

Only you know what it is that makes you and your family happy; only you can make your home the place that produces that particular kind of happiness. You don't create a home by creating a showpiece - that's just a house. A home is created first in the heart and then it is pieced together, bit by bit, with all members of the family playing their own part, to make it a home you all thrive in.

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