Something there is in each of us that yearns for home. Sometimes we confuse that yearning with a physical place. We travel back to that place and wonder why it feels different. What has changed? Why doesn’t it still feel like home? Sometimes we confuse that yearning with a particular time, a past perhaps that wasn’t complicated with today’s troubles, and lose ourselves in nostalgia. Sometimes we confuse that yearning with a particular person and, if we lose that person, wonder if we will ever feel at home again.
But what if home is not a particular place in time but a feeling we can take steps to cultivate?
What is it, really, that ache for home? Perhaps it is a longing for a time and place when you felt welcome and that someone cared if you were there and was happy to see you. A longing for community, for fitting in. Life is difficult and we are all vulnerable, but that feeling of home makes the burden lighter somehow. Someone cares.
And, while we can’t travel backwards to any particular place or time when we felt at home, we can take steps right now today and every day from now on to be welcoming to others. The people shouting ‘Norm’ felt just as much a part of the community as Norm did when he walked into the bar in the old sitcom Cheers.
To welcome others and to be welcomed both feel like home. There is as much community in reaching out to others as there is in someone reaching out to you. So consider who may be feeling adrift, in need of a community or a welcoming hand. And then reach out because, when your hands meet, you will both feel a bit more comfortable in this wild unpredictable and often inhospitable world.