My youngest is getting married in less than two months. Although we are deep in the midst of wedding plans and to-do lists, she still manages to spend a good chunk of time every day dreaming about her first home with her soon-to-be hubby. How will they decorate? How will they use their budget? How will they entertain guests? She is incredibly enthusiastic about it, too. You would think the endless list of things to think about would be exhausting, but instead, the wealth of possibilities gives her loads of energy.
I think there is something important to learn from her young, idealistic nature.
There is never a bad time to ponder the difference between a “house” and a “home,” or to reconsider how you can make yours one to come home to every day.
Noted historian David Patterson encouraged people to think of the home as having the highest calling:
… cultural restoration entails the restoration of what is most high, most dear, most enduring. And the ground for all such things is the home. The home is the place where our names are first uttered with love and therefore where we first discover that we mean something. It is the site where both human beings and human values first make their appearance in the world. It is the center from which we define and understand the nature of everything we encounter in the world. The home, then, is not one thing among many in a world of things; nor is it merely the product of a culture. Rather, the world of things derives its sense, and a culture its significance, from their relationship to the home.
A house is a place where there are walls, floors, and rooms. It is a physical structure of function and utility. It is cement and pipes and wood and wiring, all void of human understanding, emotion, and creativity.
A home, on the other hand, is a place of belonging, acceptance, and comfort. It is a place where family members and friends can make mistakes, be challenged to be their best, and experience the warmth that comes with grace, forgiveness, and redemption. It is where our life stories are molded, where verses and chapters are added as the years pass. It is a space for the development of the soul, the shaping of the spirit, and the expansion of the mind. A home is a place for reflection and quiet and solitude—a respite from the pressures of the world. And I believe that a home should also be a place of gathering, of communion, and memory making.
There is much to be said about the importance of establishing rules and boundaries, routines and responsibilities for those in your home. But when that becomes our focus, the places we live become cold and rigid. So right now, I would like to focus on how to make it inviting.