For me this whole concept of home has been an ongoing problem. It started when I left home of course. Up 'til then things were quite clear cut. My freshman year of college was like standing on the edge of something, I could sense that my idea of home was changing, but I still knew where home was. I still felt tied to my parents in Lancaster, still made it absolutely clear to everyone I spoke with that that was where home was. Sophomore year came along and I got engaged and once or twice I said the words "back home" in reference to Hawaii rather than to Lancaster. I always felt as though I was a traitor when I did slip up though, like somehow the cramped dorm room I shared with people who would come to hold a special significance in my life wasn't worthy of the word. Home was reserved for Mom and for Dad and what they had built for me. Friends who had become a constant part of my life, who had taken on the role of a family to me; they were a predicament, tossed to the back of my mind in the "this-is-a-weird-stage-of-my-life" category.
Then I got married and the challenge of pin-pointing "home" could no longer be pushed aside. As you may recall, I battled with the word's usage, with it's meaning, and what a change in home symbolized about where I was in my life. I had left the nest, but I wasn't so sure I could call any other place home.
I have to say that this battle seems to be an ongoing one. We moved in with my parents for a few months after graduation, not because we didn't have anywhere else to go but because my Mom asked me to, and frankly it didn't seem natural not to. That's what I've always done for the summer holidays and that was my automatic first choice; Justin didn't really mind either way so we went home. I loved every minute of being there, but part of me knew that it wouldn't have been good to stay much longer. It was all too easy to slide back into the role I had filled in that home-- the role of the child, the role of the whiny teenager, being chauffeured around and shirking real responsibility. Toward the end, I could tell that the carefully constructed relationship Justin and I had worked so hard at building was devolving with my lapses in maturity. We weren't Man and Wife there, I was the oldest kid and Justin was the accoutrement that came along with me. It wasn't that my parents or sisters prompted that, just that I was easily tempted to opt for the easier role, and it didn't reflect the growth we had experienced in our first year of marriage. It didn't recognize the new multiplicity of home.
Last weekend I visited my cousin Kathryn in Glendale. The long drive was well worth the spiritual nourishment and stimulating conversation I found there. No really ...we had a 9 hour conversation...LITERALLY. Kathryn and I have always been close, and our talk ranged from catching up to the time-space continuum. I mention this visit because it really got me to thinking about this whole idea of home in several ways. For one thing, I felt at home in Kathryn's apartment. Here was someone whom I loved and trusted, someone I was raised with , more than a best friend, someone who knew the intricate details of my life from childhood 'til now. It seemed for a moment like little piece of home here in Arizona, while I try to navigate my way around this new place in location and time. But I was a visitor, and Kathryn's home indisputably belonged to her and Stuart ( her husband) just as my home belongs exclusively to Justin and I. That's where I hit on it. Home is more than just a location...but it is tied to location. Parts of my conversation with Kathryn inspired the follow up to that thought.
In one of my college classes, Aesthetics actually, a professor illustrated for us an idea about the interaction between time and space. In her illustration, time and space were the x and y coordinates of a never ending graph (complete with those arrows on the end that mean forever) Thus, though most of us separate the two , both time and space are needed in order to understand something's place. In art that might mean that we shouldn't classify a painting based only on what time period it comes from, but also where it comes from geographically. I am starting to feel as though it is even more complicated than that too, because those two coordinates don't seem to fully encompass other "locations" ...like culture...but it's hard enough to wrap my head around the interrelationship between the two so I'll stick with that for now.
In any case, this graph seemed to get at how eternity works. Since both axis are ever expanding, (could they be chords of the universe?) there are an infinite number of possibilities as to where we might be. Our limitation lies in the fact that we are tied to this earth, both chronologically and geographically. Time, for us, is moving only forward. Space, for us, has only recently reached our own planet's moon.
I blame our time-space limitations for this whole predicament. See, all of us are so used to seeing things on this mortal plane that when something eternal comes to us we grapple with it. Home, in more than one place at the same time? Home in the same place at different times? Home in one place and then it's not home and then it is again? "That just isn't how life works!" I sometimes want to scream. "Everything stays in place but me Universe! Home is there and I am here , I move --not it." ...Somehow my previous logic, that only Mom and Dad's place can be home sort-of seems like that long-ago idea that the universe revolved around the Earth!
What I think, is that home is not bound to this mortal sphere. Home is eternal and exists in more than one place or time. Home looks like this.
It's hard to grasp since our mortal existence occupies a single dot on the graph, but that eternal something within us knows and accepts home for what it is, a precious universal that holds more meaning than we will ever know in this life.