With such horrible things going on in the States this week—with Philando Castile being shot just 10 miles from where I grew up—I wondered about posting the next installment of my “There’s No Place Like Home” series. But James Prescott puts it so well, about how home should be a place where we feel love and accepted, and where we extend that love and acceptance to others. As we make our homes places of love, may we also extend that same love in the public square as we search for justice for the atrocities we see committed.
Coming home. As I sat down to reflect on what ‘home’ means to me in writing this blog, I have to admit, I was staggered at my lack of any instinctive reaction. And then it came to me. Family.
Home is probably more than physical, but also more than spiritual, more than emotional or intellectual. It’s wherever you feel you belong. It’s where you can be you, without fear, without judgement or condemnation. It’s more than a place, it’s a space. A space where you can be you, and that’s enough.
Much like what healthy family should always be. And I’m fortunate to have experienced this in my life in so many beautiful ways.
First of all, with my family of birth. Whenever I am with my sister, her partner and my Dad, I don’t feel afraid. I feel loved and above all completely understood. They’ve known me longer and better than anyone else in my life. I know, I’m very lucky in this respect. Not everyone’s families of birth are so close, so connected, and so non-judgemental.
I say, families of birth, because, in truth, wherever our home is, whoever our home is, that’s our family. In my church we often describe ourselves as a ‘church family’, because that’s what we are, it’s how we act. As family.
How often do you see big communities – church communities, online communities, even audiences at big events, all come together as one, helping each other, joking with each other, loving each other. When we find a major thing in common, a common love, a common purpose, and we begin to feel safe, even fearless… we are with family.
We are home.
Indeed, my second ‘family’ space, is with my church family – in particular my home group. We are small, but we know each other so well, we feel safe to be completely vulnerable, we care for each other. And we hang out beyond our ‘official’ spaces, going to the cinema, having film nights at each others homes, going out for drinks.
We’re family. And whenever I’m with family, I’m home.
My third space will surprise you, given all I’ve said. It’s when I’m at home, on my own, in my flat. Part of this, naturally, is because I’m an introvert – and we introverts often prefer being on our own, in our own space. We need it to gain energy, and it’s a safe space to disconnect.
I also believe it’s home because I’m never really alone at home. Because somewhere in my soul, I know it’s a place I can be vulnerable, honest, and raw in a way I can’t anywhere else, because it’s just me… and God. And maybe, just maybe, because this flat is part of my late Mother’s legacy to me – and every so often, I remember her when I’m here.
Family. Heavenly and earthly. Even physically by myself.
I believe home is relational, more than anything. Even physical places we call home, usually, like my flat, feel that way because of a relational connection in some way.
Think about all the places, people, spaces you call home. And try to see it in a relational way. Open your eyes to see, this is you family. This is your place. This is where you can be you. And then, let’s try to create that space for others. Make our little place of the world a place where others can call home.
Imagine if all of us did this … what an amazing world that would be. That, for me is, God’s dream for us. That’s heaven, right here, right now.
James Prescott is a writer, editor, blogger & author from Sutton, near London. He is author of two e-books, Dance Of The Writer and Unlocking Creativity and hosts a weekly podcast ‘James Talks’. His first print book Mosaic Of Grace: Gods’ Beautiful Reshaping Of Our Broken Lives releases later this year. Find his work at jamesprescott.co.uk & follow him on Facebook or on Twitter at @JamesPrescott77.