I’ve been thinking a lot about home this week. Throughout the years I have come to learn the importance of loving, honoring, and respecting myself and as a result learning to be at home with my self. Why wouldn’t a person feel at home with themselves? In seeking to answer to this question I have discovered some the things that have caused me to feel an estrangement from myself. First of all, I never understood the importance of knowing myself. I did not understand the concept of building a relationship with my self. This resulted in me becoming a “people pleaser” which for many years was the driving force in my life as someone involved in full-time ministry.
When I began to explore these things and look deeper at the life I was living and what I was living for, I realized that I had to do some major work and in many ways it was difficult. I sought to ask myself the harder questions and to examine my motives and intentions. It was painful to see how much of my life I had lived to please others without realizing it. It became clear to me that in my wounded state “I needed to be needed.” Through my discoveries, I began to make choices I had never made before. I began to say No when I truly felt No. I also had to remove myself from situations of “service” so that I could be free of being needed. These were difficult but necessary decisions. I decided to concentrate more on being and less on doing. I turned more to creativity which was a way of nurturing the gifts that had been neglected for years. I sought to disconnect from many social activities with the sole purpose of connecting with myself. These were painful choices in some ways but the healing that was greatly needed in my life came as a result.
Facing faults and understanding the truth of my motives was such an important step toward healing. Learning to love myself in spite of these faults and respect myself enough to develop healthy relationships whatever the cost was essential. I noticed that there were certain relationships that required healthier boundaries. In the process of establishing these boundaries the other person was unwilling to see my need for these changes and opted to terminate the relationship. This was surprising and at the same time revealing.
This important work in my life came through the help of others. Through counseling, spiritual direction, prayer, reading, journaling, and dialoging with friends, I came to understand what I needed to do to grow and be healed. Through this work I have also named my gifts and talents and sought to own and nurture them. We are all of course works in progress but it is good to come to a place of being at home with myself at this time in my life. I have also come into a more healthy balance of interacting with the folks around me.
I have also thought about “home” in the sense of family. Last Monday I got a stomach flu and had to come home from work after being there only an hour. I was sick for two days. Then, though I did not feel well I went to work Wednesday through Friday. By Thursday I was spent. I felt like bursting into tears the last hour of work. When I opened the door to my home, my grandson greeted me with such joy and warmth, my son Jamen with love, and my husband Jim had made me a little gift. All the negativity I felt dissolved away and I was “home.” There is nothing like it.
A friend gave me a plaque which hangs in my living room. It says “Friends are the family one finds along the way.” Even if we don’t have family around us or if our family is small, we can find “family” in those dearest to us. I want to encourage each of us to seek to be at “home” with ourselves at all cost and to seek to find some sense of “home” with others.
Here are a few quotes about home:
The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart. ~Julien Green
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. ~Alan Alda
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin