I noticed recently that most websites have a hyperlink that you can click on to get to the Home Page. No matter how big or elaborate the website is, you can almost always click back to Home. This got me thinking about the FEELING of home.
Does home refer to the place one grew up? What if you move away from the place you grew up, and create a new home somewhere else? Are both places home? What if childhood home was not a happy or safe place? Does that taint the idea of home with traumatic or unpleasant memories?
Then there's the archetype of home, that universal ideal of home as a place where we can feel safe and well loved. Similarly, people often experience homesickness, a longing to return home either literally or metaphorically. The feeling of home can be felt in specific places, with family, partners, friends, or even pets. This can include close friends, longtime friends, or even new friends where there is a unique sense of connection and familiarity, someone who loves and appreciates all of who you are.
Maybe there's a chance for me to go back there
Now that I have some direction
It would sure be nice to be back home
Where there's love and affection
And just maybe I can convince time to slow up
Giving me enough time in my life to grow up
Time be my friend, let me start again
–Lyrics from "Home," a song from the musical "The Wiz"
Some people have particular rituals or objects that mark a place as home. Photos, or family mementos, certain smells or music or celebrations evoke or represent a feeling of home. African-Americans often refer to death as going home. Jewish homes have a mezuzah in the doorway that serves as an amulet or spiritual touchstone. And what about "being at home in your own skin?"
On a global or political level, concepts like homeland and diaspora have been used to describe a sense of peoplehood and identity, perhaps in relationship to a country or continent. These concepts also have a chilling shadow side, as reflected in their connection to the Holocaust, or Middle Passage. How does a tribe or people experience a sense of collective home, or lack thereof?
Here is a random list, in no particular order, of other home-related words to consider:
Bringing it home
Home field advantage
Home is where the heart is
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy was told to click the heels of her ruby slippers and chant three times, "there's no place like home," at which point she was transported home to Kansas. What if we could click our heels, or click a button on the keyboard or website and magically find ourselves ensconced in the feeling of home exactly as we want it?
What or whom gives you that feeling of home?
Where do you feel truly welcomed, and by whom?