You can have more than one home. You can carry your roots with you, and decide where they grow.
– Henning Mankell
Since childhood, I have had a hunger for travel. I dreamt of being a missionary in a faraway land, or a traveling journalist – anything that would allow me to see the world. And until a few months ago, I didn’t really consider myself to be someone with roots.
To me, roots meant settling, and settling meant missing out.
But when I talk about the importance of home, I don’t mean the place where you come from – although that “home” is immensely significant. I carry my hometown and childhood home with me wherever I go. The experiences and relationships tied to those places are precious to me and have shaped who I am today.
However, what I really mean is that a home – a real, bona fide home of your own – is, perhaps, the most vital necessity of the soul. And I don’t mean just having a place to live. I mean a home.
Every person, family, and home is different; however, I believe that, at the core, a home is a place we should want to be. A home should be a place of refuge, respite, and soul-refreshing.
But what makes a home? I think there are two really important, but perhaps often overlooked, principles that distinguish a place of dwelling from a home.
A home should be beautiful…to you.
I once spent some time with an author and rancher in Texas, who believed that beauty is a form of worship. As an author, he valued beauty, and I believe he relied upon it to feed his thought life.
Whether you are religious or not, beauty, like worship, involves reverence and adoration. This is why nobody likes obnoxious people in an art gallery. But beauty also involves purposefulness. When it comes to the home, beauty is far more than just color and art; beauty is the purposefulness with which items are chosen and arranged in a space.
It can be tempting to trade beauty for functionality or for a few unspent dollars, but as humans, we are attracted to beauty. And home should be a place you are attracted to. Think about it – this is where you live. A majority of the hours we spend outside our jobs are spent at home. Why not want to be there?
Of course, we all have different tastes and ideas about beauty. My neighbor’s apartment has maybe five major items of furniture in it, and almost no artwork; and yet, each item is included with purpose and care. My cousin’s home, on the other hand, is filled with brightly painted walls, dramatic furniture, and elegant artwork (you can check out some photos and her take on interior design here). Both are beautiful, and both are home.
The point is, filling your home with beauty doesn’t mean buying prohibitively expensive furniture or artwork. Beauty is as simple as purposefully combining the kinds of light, colors, textures, and patterns that attract us and lift our mood.
A home should foster the things that give life to your soul.
My husband and I recently moved into our first apartment. It is a scrumptious little one bedroom, and we love it. And you know what? Our dining room has a desk and recording setup in it, because a space for my husband to record and pursue his passion for filmmaking is more important to us than a dining room table.
We already live in a world that comes with an onslaught of obstacles, setbacks, and haters. Home should be a place that silences the noise of the world so we can focus on being the best we were created to be.
Practically, this can be anything from the spaces we create in our home, to the habits we choose to develop, to the way we spend our time when we’re at home. It could mean converting your dining room into a recording studio…or it could just mean turning the tv off on Wednesday nights so we can focus on something that really matters to us.
No matter where we live, we can create a home. Is your house/apartment/studio/dorm room a home? If not, what practical, intentional things can you do today to make it a home? What other elements do you think are essential in a home? Comment below!