From the work in progress Life: A Book About Learning to Live
By Jim Rosemergy
God has made a home in me.
A house may have an address, but a home cannot be described by a number and the name of a street. A house may be neat, filthy, organized, or in disarray, but a home is never characterized this way. You can dread entering your house because there is so much work to be done within it or because of the pain you have suffered there, but you will never dread coming home. Home is a precious place where you find the richness of your soul.
A home is inviting. It is a warm hearth even though there is no fireplace in which to build a fire. Carpenters, contractors, and tradesmen build a house, but a home has a single architect, and one carpenter driving the nails. Each of us must build our own home.
A home is a gathering place, a place where one person can gather himself or where many people can share the adventure of discovering their true nature.
There have been times in my life when I have had the privilege of being asked to bless a family’s dwelling place. On these occasions, I ask the family and friends gathered to take note of the ceiling, floor, and walls of the dwelling and then I stress that it is not the structure that makes the house livable or meaningful; it is the space set forth by the ceiling, floor, and walls. No one lives in the structure of the house or apartment. We live in the supposed emptiness of the house. This empty space is filled with the presence of God. It is our ability to recognize this truth that makes a house a home.
A house is a dwelling place; a home is a Presence in which we dwell. A house has an address; a home is where we address our issues. To come home is to truly live.
After my opening remarks, I usually ask the people gathered to move silently from room to room to bless the individual spaces by remembering that they are filled with the presence of God. Candles can be carried or tiny red paper hearts can be left in hidden places in each room. As life is lived in these spaces, the expressions of love are found and the specialness of the evening of the blessing is remembered.
When we remember that God is present, a home is created wherever it may be. Frank Laubach, a master at practicing the presence of God, wrote that his simple cabin in the Philippines became a palace because he flooded it with the Presence. Of course, God was always there, but the home or palace was created when Mr. Laubach remembered the Presence in which he lived and moved and had his being.
It is true; we are immersed in God. This is the wisdom of the stoic philosopher that spiritually minded people have found so appealing. However, through experience I have found that Spirit is more than a sea in which we move and have being. We have being because God has made a home in us.
We are explorers and because of this, discoveries abound. Physicists make discoveries about the nature of physical matter, astronomers tell us about the stars, and medical researchers uncover the mysteries of the human body, but the most far-reaching discovery must be made by each of us. No one can make it for us, for we are destined to know that God has made a home in us.
Isn’t it strange that humanity builds grand structures declaring them to be God’s dwelling place when the architect of the temple and its masons are more temples of the Holy One than the grand cathedral that is rising out of the earth? No wonder so few of us know God is real. We think God lives in a place we have built, when God has actually made a home in us. It is this lack of wisdom that is at the root of why so many of us live in houses rather than homes.