I was thinking about home—
about what all home means to me—
and I found myself thinking in terms of
hard and soft definitions of home.
Not sure where those categories came from,
I stuck with them,
hoping to discover whether they might offer some gift.

“So what would come under the category
of a hard definition of home?” you might wonder—as did I.
Well, something very specific with sharply defined edges, I mused:
my street address, for example—the place I go to get away,
to rest, to be at home.

But then those sharply defined edges began to blur a little
as I factored in how important my family is
to making of a place, a home.
Reminds me of how much I’ve always loved the lyrics
to Billy Joel’s song, “You Are My Home,”
which include the lines:
“Home can be the Pennsylvania Turnpike,
Indiana’s early morning dew,
high up in the hills of California,
home is just another word for you.”

So is home only superficially physical and spatial
and more fundamentally relational?
Well, no.
First, because we don’t set the physical and relational
up in contrast to each other;
nor do we locate them in some hierarchy of value.

But also because softer definitions of home, no less specific, actually,
just with less sharply defined edges,
are also grounded in love,
yet include the not necessarily reciprocal relational affirmations:
if I’m doing what I love, I am home;
if I’m with those I love, I am home;
if I am in a place I love, I am home.

And, in truth, the more definitions of—
the more experiences we claim and name as
home—love, the better—
the healthier we are.

And, in fact, all those “softer” definitions,
upon further reflection,
are themselves rooted in the particularly physical
(definite places I love, certain things I love to do).

Any definition or experience of home is embodied
in distinct time and space,
but grows deeper in love
into home.
We begin always with hard definitions
the edges of which love softens into depth
into thin places
charged with the grandeur of God.

We start with the incarnate
which, in and through love,
is always growing into God.


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