Saturday, March 17, 2012

Putting down roots

(A guest post by Grace for this twenty-first day of Lent)

Home is where I have chosen to put down roots, both literally, as in my garden, and figuratively, as in the relationships I have established. I have put down roots through showing hospitality, through getting to know my neighbors, and even through getting to know the local landscape.

My home is a place I can choose to open to others. I can’t show hospitality in a place that’s not home. For me, it is easier to invite people into my home than it is to invite people to other places, such as church. At home, I have some control over the environment, everything from the temperature to the lighting to the way it smells. I also have control over who else is going to be there. Inviting people into public places is more risky because there are more aspects of the place that are beyond my control. Yet, home is a place from which I can choose to exclude others. I can make it my “castle” and use it for protection.

Home has a kitchen. It is the nerve-center of my home, because from my kitchen comes good food, hot tea—the means to provide sustenance to my family and friends. I can’t imagine showing hospitality without food, and I can’t feel at home in a place without a kitchen. There is a big difference between taking someone out to a restaurant and inviting someone into my home. In a restaurant, we may “entertain” a guest, but it’s not hospitality.

When I worked a job and had an office, the office was my personal space, but it wasn’t home, partly because there was no kitchen. In an office, I can wear a mask. People who come into my home see who I really am. It’s hard to keep up a false front in my own home, especially with my children running around.

A familiar landscape can help make a place feel like home, but I've found that home is with my husband and children, and in that sense, I can be home in an otherwise alien land. It would be worse to be in a familiar landscape without them than to be in an alien one with them. I may not have chosen to live where I do, but I have chosen to make the place that I live home.

Grace and two of her daughters make cookies to share.
 Grace is a contented wife of a college professor, with whom she often opens her home to college students. They have three children and are expecting their fourth.

1 comment:

  1. thanks Bethany for making this available. Hope to meet you someday--maybe in Stephen's Hall o' Literary Lions.