Saturday, November 1, 2008

I've Got My Memories Always Inside of Me, But I Can't Go Back to How It Was

Apparently not many of those of you read this are fans of Stoic Philosophy, so let's try something else.

Family (an appropriate topic considering it is All Saint's Day) and Home are both words which carry lots of different meanings for lots of different people. For me, family doesn't have to include people who share your genetic code, but I do think that there has be some link of commonality in the relational bonds which tie us to those we consider to be "brothers" or "sisters" or "mothers" or "fathers", otherwise, their wouldn't be any reason for such labels to be used. Home fore me also does not simply mean the place where you are currently living, but carries the implication of the place where you feel most comfortable. The people I call family are certainly not all related to me (and there are some people who are related to me who I certainly wouldn't call family). In the past four years, not all of the places I have been living have been home. But, especially in college, family and home both become very fluid concepts.

Nowadays, when I make the long and arduous 45-minute trek to the house that my parents live in, it certainly doesn't feel like home (although they do feel like family). I feel welcome, I feel the warm embrace of hospitality, and I certainly feel like I am among friends and loved ones. However, I don't feel like I am home. I merely feel as though I am a guest in the home of someone else. A welcome guest, who can make himself "at home", but it's not my home. Not anymore.

This same feeling somewhat applies to the members of my more extended family. They feel more and more like acquaintances. Perhaps this has something to do with my tendency to maintain some level of emotional distance from even close friends due to past feelings of betrayal or abandonment, but perhaps not.

I've reached the point in my life where I will never be home again until I have created a home of my own, and to some extent the same applies to family. And as I stare into the abyss of adulthood, the abyss stares also into me. Or something like that.

So, I pose to you, o faithful reader, a two-pronged question: How do you define family and home?

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

1 comment:

brinticus said...

Some say that "home is where the heart is," but this presumes there is someplace that you love to be. Granting that assumption, someone might love where they are at and want to be nowhere else. Some are comfortable in very few places over the course of their life, so only a very few places would qualify to be "home" in the strong sense. Others might have found such a place once, but know that they shall never return to that place. Imagine someone from a country that is taken over and renamed. Perhaps they would never find home again.

Others might define "home" functionally such that anytime they are surrounded by people who love them they are home. Imagine Native Americans in the early days where they traveled from place to place in a nomadic lifestyle. Home would be where ever the night fires and family clan gathered, and this seems a legitimate sense of the term as well.