Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Turning a House into a Home

Last week I signed papers documenting the fact that in 30 years I will be the sole owner of a house. Now some of you haven't been to the closing table yet, while for a few others once was more than enough. On the flip side, there are those who have been there many times. Regardless, there is something universal in wanting to own a house.

For me a house represents security and safety as I am surrounded by sturdy walls and a non-leak roof that have been inspected and found to be sound. A house presents opportunities to express my creative side with paint color choices, furniture selection and placement, and yard landscaping. It also represents a repository of memories as I get to pile and store box after box of mementoes, pictures, papers and keepsakes chronicling my life's journey. A house also represents obligation and responsibility as I must now meet monthly mortgage, tax and escrow payments, along with repairing all that falters or fails.

But still a house is a thing -- nothing more than wood, sheetrock, nails, paint, plaster and the rest. A house becomes alive when it becomes a home.

For me, home represents love and acceptance. The minute I enter my home all the day's assaults on me and my self-worth are wiped away. I am loved and accepted for who I am, not for my actions, dress, or demeanor. My accomplishments -- or lack thereof -- mean nothing to those who wait for me at home.

Home is not the ultra-modern kitchen, the manicured yard, the leather furniture, or the poster-lined "man cave"; home is the people who love and forgive, who help and holler, who accept me without judgment, without reservation.

For some, home might be a crowded apartment filled with family members who love hugs and accept one another, just the way they are. Then again home could be a trailer in the country with a faithful companion. Home might even be a condo shared with one person for more than 50 years, or an assisted-living site with a partner who no longer remembers.

To be sure, buying a house is nice, but a house does not make a home.

Houses last a while; homes are forever.

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