You hear many old sayings about the home. “Home is where the heart is;” There is no place like home;” “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in” spoken by Robert Frost or “ Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to,” by journalist John Ed Pearce. Laura Ingalls Wilder said “Home is the nicest word there is.” While Oliver Wendell Homes put it this way: “Where we love is home, Home that the feet may leave, but not our hearts.”

One has to wonder if home is a place, a feeling, or a mix of both. If we think about it, it is both, perhaps different for each of us. For me it is a feeling almost more than a place. But the place, as well as the people, inspires that feeling.

What makes a home? First and foremost, it’s shelter from all the troubles and cares of the outside world. It also keeps us warm and dry, of utmost importance when severe weather comes our way or winter winds blow, something we all can appreciate with the harshness of this winter. It’s a haven in time of trouble and a quiet place to pull ourselves together to again be ready to meet the world.

A Christian home reflects the love and caring that each member has for another, enjoying the closeness of family around us. For those who do not have that element, homes can be mere houses that shelter but do not sustain or center us. In fact, home isn’t completely home unless you have or have had someone to share it with. For children who have spread their wings it’s somewhere to come back and visit to find rest.

Home is a nest, of sorts. Birds build nests to raise their young, nests are made by many animals to prepare a place for their young, some very elaborate, others quite simple. We build nests as well, it’s an instinct, especially in the female of the species.

When something happens to that nest or home, the emotional feelings are great. Stress levels are highest when losing a family member, but stress levels in disaster are highly emotional as well.

This winter it could be frozen pipes that flood a ceiling or basement, destroying in its wake, fire destruction with smoke damage to belongings that may or may not be salvageable. Natural disasters of fire, flood, hurricane or tornados can take the tangible part of home away and greatly alter the lives of those affected. I am sure that some of those displaced by Hurricane Katrina understand that quite well.

Another old saying, however, says that there is no trouble that doesn’t have a silver lining. We may not see it right away, but if you look you may find it. Sometimes these things make little sense but eventually they can and do.

We don’t like to have that home in disorder. Whether it’s remodeling, fixing problems or the disorder of moving or getting ready to move. That brings a lot of unrest to those who like order and who prefer their homes to be just so. We place decorative items with just the right balance to suit us, we want the area rug to highlight a certain area. We’re particular about how things are cleaned, where they are stored.

Some of us are gatherers and keepers, keeping anything with sentimental value, while others keep their homes in pristine condition with the utmost organization; most of us fall somewhere in between. We often sort and organize, deciding what to keep and what to give away and recycle.

Although not many do spring house cleaning in the sense of how it was done years ago when everything was moved out and the walls, floors and windows, curtains and all were washed and scrubbed, the stove blacked and moved, everything was cleaned. Spring cleaning is a good idea, but sometimes hard to accomplish in today’s culture. Cleaning can sometimes make you realize how much you have stored away for that rainy day.

But regardless how organized or disorganized it may be I don’t think anyone would disagree that there is just “no place like home.” Another old song says “be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.’ So home does not have to be a mansion, it does not have to be new, large or unique. It’s size, shape, worth and contents don’t matter at all. It can be found anywhere in the world. It’s that haven we find from a world of turmoil, it’s that quiet after the clamor of the outside world. It’s a place and an emotion but also the people who reside there.


Jeannine Roediger has lived on a family farm all her life, first as a farmer’s daughter and now as a farmer’s wife. She writes weekly for the Times Bulletin and enjoys gardening, quilting, cooking, bird watching and writing.