random thoughts

A home is more than just a house

I’m going to begin this article with a question: What is the difference between a house and a home?

I think we have all experienced situations, at some time or other, that would provide the answer, such as when visiting a friend’s house, only to find that she has moved away. The house seems quite different when we open the door – grey, empty, unwelcoming. Where’s the warm greeting, the happy smile, the oft-repeated offer of a cup of tea? This is just a house. A house like any other.

A further example of this is when I enter my teaching room where I did years and years of teaching. The room welcomes me in. Why? Because I’ve always loved teaching and everything about the room is a reflection of this love and dedication, it is an accumulation of love. In a way, it seems that I inhabit the room even when I’m not there. One of my sons once said: ’Give my mother a blackboard and a piece of chalk and she’s away!’ In contrast, a classroom where the teacher has left nothing of herself (love, flowers, posters, decorations, colour), this then becomes like the empty house without an owner.

There’s a short answer to my question. It is love. And so, dear reader, another question for you: are our houses full of love? Are they homes or just houses?

Did not William Blake, (1757-1827), an English poet and painter, and a ’glorious luminary’ write:

’Where mercy, love and pity dwell, there God is dwelling too.’

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