As I write this newsletter I am anticipating great changes in my home just around the time you will receive it. What does home mean? And what does it mean when “home” changes completely?
As college students, young adults, newlyweds, and new home owners (or renters) we spend a lot of time turning houses and apartments into homes. Just think about the number of TV stations or hours of television devoted to home improvement, home decorating, upgrades, DIY… creating a home by changing something physical about the space we sleep and eat in seems to be what they are selling. But I think it is also what we are buying. As I’ve seen the changes to our TRT space over the last 3 years (the sanctuary and the atrium and now the youth lounge/oneg room) people don’t just say “oh what a beautiful renovation” they say “it’s so warm in here” “it’s so inviting.” Clearly the physical space does affect the emotional one.
So what happens to our feeling of home when a major emotional shift occurs? For me, I’m anticipating my home to change drastically, not just as we move the “man cave” into the bedroom and set up a nursery, but the all encompassing, life changing, non-sleeping, crazy filled with love and fear and frustration and love and crying of bringing babies into our home. How does one adjust to the new normal? How do you make it HOME again? For others the change might not be such a positive one, how do you make it home again after moving a sick parent or grandparent in? How do you make it home again, after the death of one who made any space feel like your home? How do you make it home when you are suffering from an illness, especially if your home is now an obstacle with stairs you cannot climb, and shelves you can no longer reach?
How do we find home when life throws us a curve ball? And all the more so, when that curve ball is permanent? I think this can be overwhelming, and it must be taken one moment at a time. I believe there is an element of faith necessary to take the leap that moves one from “crisis mode” to “living with” mode and maybe eventually back to “home.” I think this takes courage and faith, and while often help is necessary, ultimately each of us can only change our own outlook and find our own new normal.
Courage: it takes incredible courage to face problems in life. Often people will say “what choice did I have” but I ask you to give yourself credit. Facing your problems, whether it is treating them with a doctor, reaching out for help with an organization like TRT Cares, or just continuing to get up in the morning and go through life until you can take another step forward; all of these take courage.
Faith: it takes tremendous faith to believe that you can make a difference in your own life, even against the things we are powerless to change. I don’t know if faith can cure cancer, but I know that faith can bring us back home even in a new reality we never wanted. Faith that God is with us may be helpful, or it may make you angry with God. But faith, faith that it will be ok, can be powerful. Ok may not be what we want, it might not even be good, but it can still be comforting, and finding the faith to believe in that comfort may make one feel at home, even for just a few moments of the day.
Help: for most problems we will need help. It may be the help of an expert, like a doctor, or lawyer; or it may just be that we need the help of our family, friends and community. We may need others to do things for us we used to be able to do on our own; or it might just mean knowing we don’t walk this road alone. However, for all the help needed, and received, ultimately only each individual can make his or her house a home. We can tear down the walls or change all the décor as a community, but we all know that though the new coat of paint might help our mood, it isn’t the emotion. Only we can realize we are not alone, only we can take the step out of bed in the morning, only we can take the leap of faith that “ok” is good enough, only we can find home in our own new realities.