A Home Inside Us
In the midst of weeks that are packed to the brim and moving fast, I feel something quietly edging into the still place within me. It bubbles up when I’m driving through the countryside on a grey afternoon, when I lay down and exhale at night, when I pause in total and complete bliss watching our children lost in a moment together.
The initial idea percolating within me is that it’s so easy to miss it, miss all of it, the grandest part of life. Years fLash by and pan out to simply making ends meet, a family that exists but is disconnected, thousands of appointments, obligations, and social outings.
Countless books and programs attempt to align individuals with the “meaning of life,” but in the process of embodying values it seems we inevitably get lost again and again, often in a very short amount of time. This cycle is part of the human condition, the fuzzy middle-part; the fact that we so quickly forget while in the desert, waiting for the promised land, what it was like back in Egypt. But deep within me is the hope there is more to it, that with effort, a profound difference could be made in the middle, within our families, our future, and ourselves… a change that goes beyond being more grateful or more present or more (Fill in the blank).
Two years ago I would have said that Ben and I were moving towards a new lifestyle, a new substructure to root ourselves in. The aim was to make an internal shift that would serve us better in the long run, in addition to an external shift that could be enjoyed and available to those closest to us. The “home” I wanted to move towards was a dwelling place, a set of values, and a way of living meant for our family, with doors open to those around us.
As we’ve worked to align our values with our day-to-day existence, I’ve realized that the thing edging its way into my consciousness is a country compared to the ten-acre landing place I had in mind, that relationships are not an extension of the thing, but the thing itself.
Relationships are transactional, an infinite amount of exchanges between individuals. Buried within those exchanges are expectations, assumptions, intentions, actions… all of which appear to be increasingly fragile and temporary these days. At the end of it all I don’t want a house or a farm or handful of meaningful moments to sum up my existence… I want a people that I belonged to, who belonged also to me.
While talking with a friend recently, he said he hangs on to loyalty to his wife with “a death-like grip.” That phrase has stayed with me… What if the sum of my years was a manifestation of that kind of belonging; to be tethered in such a way not only to my family, but also to those within my community, my tribe?
The home we are seeking, in search of, and meant to help build isn’t about a place; it’s about a people. And as the weeks tick by, I feel the growing sense that I am to give that type of "home" legs, a way in which to stand.