Home to me is both a physical place and a spiritual sanctuary. The first definition, a physical place, usually refers to my actual house located in North Carolina. But it can also be interpreted in a more conceptual way – home being where I am currently staying, say, on a cruise ship or in a hotel. It is the place that will shelter me at the end of the day. No matter how much I enjoy travelling, it is always nice to return to that physical place where I have all of my stuff, and, most importantly, my bed. How many of us have said, when away from home for a while, “I’ll be glad to sleep in my own bed again.”?
In times of stress and worry, my first thought is that I want to go home. When I received my diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, I wanted to get in the car and drive straight home, to be inside my fortress and block out the rest of the world while I grappled with my new reality. My home shelters me from storms, it is where I feel safe, protected and secure. This is why home invasions are so frightening. They tear away at that sense of protection and security and leave feelings of vulnerability and fear in their wake.
But home is much more than this. Home is family, love and support. It is the place that grounds me, my center amidst the chaos of the world outside. The physical “home”, the wooden structure might be destroyed by fire or an earthquake. It would be devastating to see all I had in the physical sense, lost forever. But the spiritual home would live on in my heart, in my love for my husband and my sons, in our grandchildren, sustaining the ties that hold us together, and assuring that whatever I might lose of the physical, the love that surrounds me will go on in that spiritual sanctuary I call home.
When we purchased our new home seven years ago, there was a small walk- through room opposite the dining room. If you came through the front door, you would walk down the hallway, and through this room to reach the family room and kitchen. At first, we weren’t sure what to do with this room until I suggested we hang our family pictures in collages on the walls. I put my roll-top desk in the room and displayed vintage black and white photos on the shelf of the desk. We soon began calling it the picture room. I thought a picture of the picture room would be appropriate for this challenge, as the room is a physical part of our “home” and the pictures represent my spiritual “home”, pictures of family, friends and special memories.