Homeward Bound

I once clipped a funny story from “Reader’s Digest” submitted by
Joanne Mitchell. She wrote, “My brother adopted a snake named
Slinky, whose most disagreeable trait was eating live mice. Once I
was pressed into going to the pet store to buy Slinky’s dinner. The
worst part of this wasn’t choosing the juiciest-looking creatures or
turning down the clerk who wanted to sell me vitamins to ensure
their longevity. The hardest part was carrying the poor things out
in a box bearing the words ‘Thank you for giving me a home.'”

That’s a little hard to take. Dinner with Slinky cannot be a mouse’s
idea of going home.

Another woman tells of a time when she was at home with her children
and the telephone rang. In going to answer it, she tripped on a rug,
reached out for something to hold on to and grabbed the telephone
table. It crashed to the floor and jarred the receiver from the
cradle. The table fell on top of the family dog, which leaped up
barking and howling. The mother’s three-year-old son, startled by
this noise, broke into loud screams. The woman mumbled some colorful
words and finally managed to pick up the receiver and lift it to her
ear. Before she could answer, she heard her husband’s voice over the
phone say, “Nobody’s said hello yet, but I’m positive I have the
right number.”

Now that sounds all-too-typical – from peace to pandemonium in about
two seconds. Any of us who have raised children or even any of us
who WERE children probably get it.

Families today come in all different shapes and sizes. And when
peace turns into pandemonium, one may long to get away from it all,
at least for a while. But the fact is, we each are born into
families and we seem to have an irresistible urge to start new ones.
At a deep level I believe we know that the family is just about the
most important and probably the most enduring institution ever
created. Regardless of what a family looks like, whether or not
children are present, home is a place where our souls can finally
connect with the soul of another; a place where we can, and should,
feel safe, cared for and even special.

In 1688 Johannes Hofer, a Swiss medical student, coined a word to
describe an illness whose symptoms include insomnia, anorexia,
palpitations, stupor, and, above all, a persistent thinking of home.
The word he coined was “nostalgia.” There is a yearning within the
human heart to return to that place where we were secure, loved and
made to feel important.

Songwriter Paul Simon picks up the feeling when he sings that “every
stranger’s face I see reminds me that I long to be homeward bound.”

If we can’t be homeward bound, can we make “home” out of where we
are? Home may be as much a state of being as a place. We talk about
feeling at home when we feel at peace or when we feel comforted. “I
am at home in this place,” we might say. It’s a state of well-being
and solace.

If home is as much about attitude as it is about latitude, then we
never need feel too far from home. That’s good to know, especially
during those times when we find our thoughts homeward bound. Can you
make the place you are a space of peace? Can you find comfort in
your surroundings and warmth in the company of friends? If so, even
if you’re not at the place you live, you will be at home.

Find Steve Goodier here: http://stevegoodier.blogspot.com/.
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