Past the paint and trim, beyond the appliances and countertops lies a peace and comfort that can only come from one little word, Home. That small word concocts whirling images of weeknight family dinners, crazy holiday gatherings, messy bedrooms and the smell of cookies baking. It's a word I never really understood, but desperately wanted. Home was something far away for me, not ever my current living situation.
Having moved a running total of 24 times in my lifetime, I have experience with living situations. From tiny apartments to converted basements and friends couches, I've been there and done that. I've learned that 'house' does not equal 'Home'. House is temporary, with no real emotion or comfort connected to it. Since I've only lived in few actual stick-built houses, I never had the chance to connect to any of them. I have that chance now.
For you Harry Potter fans, remember in the first book or movie when Harry stood before the mirror that showed the deepest desire of his heart? He saw his family that he had never known. Ron Weasley saw himself as the most successful of his brothers. I've pondered on that mirror many times. I've wondered what it would show me. What is the deepest desire of my heart? Certainly not fame or wealth as I disdain both, so what could it be? Did I want a large family, like Harry? Did I want success, as Ron did? What would I see if I looked at the deepest desire of my heart?
It wasn't until I knelt in the empty living room of our little white country home, asking God to bless our home, that I finally realized what that deep desire had been. A Home. A real home full of comfort, love and matching furniture. A place I could be proud to invite my friends over to and show off. A place I could put my feet up and relax. A place I looked forward to dusting and wiping, sweeping and mopping and enjoying the shine of clean. A place we could raise a family and grow together. A place I never had to leave, never had to pack up and drive away from. A place where I feel safe and secure and, finally, feel like I'm home.
As a child I would always draw pictures of my image of Home. A crayon drawing of a two story house with a steep pitched roof and three windows, 1 up & 2 down. A large tree with a swing and a hose extending into a kids pool in the yard. I live in that drawing now, I just need some kids in the pool! I understand why I always drew the same picture, it was the deepest desire of my heart, I just didn't know it yet. To have a real home and share it with my family. Loud and messy, or calm and quite, it doesn't matter as long as it's home.
Years ago, my mother had a keychain that read "Home is where you hang your keys." I now have a place for my keys. And yes, Mom, I kept that keychain. It has a special place in my heart, and in my home.