“Home is where your heart is”, isnt that how the saying goes? The home is where you feel the most comfortable, secure, and happy. For many years my home was not where my heart was. Years prior I moved from my family home to a new area. I had moved from where roots were made, roots were nourished and on the odd occasion poisoned. I moved from old pavements encrusted with old dog poo, old faces, old newsagents, old chip shops, old neighbours who knew my name to somewhere completely different. I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t know the home I had moved to.
The first night I sat in the new room, Family Guy blazing on the TV, and I gazed at the ceiling thinking how I would ever get used to this place and make it feel like somewhere I belonged.
I wondered if I could ever feel the contentment you see being played out on the TV, new home buyers jumping for joy and kissing as the sunsets on their completion date.
I was living with a stranger, the new house was stranger still, and I felt detached. There were new smells to get used to, new corners, new sounds, and a creeping new darkness that I had never experienced ever. The darkness was lying await amongst all the new boxes, suitcases, wedding presents, and entwined around my shiny door key. One night the darkness grabbed me by the throat in the guise of a text message.
Two winters later, when my son was around one year, I was by this time living alone and my home was closing in on me. Dark shadows, sadness, and me.. in one room, with a heater. I was re-living a horror movie in my head over and over again I couldn’t take it. I remember packing my bags, a baby in tow and going to my parents for a few days. The central heating was always on high at mums, the smell of cooking, and mums Jamaican trill on the phone accompanied by dad’s soft rustling as he turned one of his broadsheet newspapers.
This my dears was home to me! I would always be given porridge much like baby bear, and things for a few days were lovely. My dad would always take the baby in the other room and sing to him whilst I spoke to mum about court papers, money, and how terrible things were for me, I could see her eyes glazing over at points, I didn’t care I continued with my moaning and she listened.
I had come home for a few days and my heart was complete! I was in an all-inclusive holiday away from hell, Sandals for the downtrodden and misunderstood.
Soon though, the dreaded day would come when it was time for me to pack up my things, and go back to my real home. Instantly the creeping darkness grabbed me by the throat and squeezed till my choking mimicked tears. I said my byes to my parents, packed the car up once more, and returned to my House of Terror.
I was ‘home’ but my heart was not there. The baby was fine, he laughed as per usual, squashed biscuits into the rug, and moaned over his sore gums. I was not. I was a scared little girl that wanted to go home, close the door behind her and leave the house that was stripping away every fibre of me. What I hadn’t realised the house, and this experience was stripping me to build me back to a new person. I started to pray a lot over those years, not the normal get down on your knees mechanical method that we are all taught, no offence to those that pray that way.. but it didn’t help me..
I talked to God through writing, through tears, through kind friends that gave advice, through mum, through father, through meditating on chapters of the Bible that each morning would be given to me via an app, or through some angel. In return, God gave me more days with drier eyes, more smiles, more kind people, and more love.
I would often return to my parents and intently listened to their Windrush stories, coming from Jamaica in the 50s and 60s as very young people, leaving their home, their parents, and family to come to a country that spat them out like grizzle off a bone. I listened wide-eyed, thinking they were younger than me? How did they do it? Did they not wanted to give it all up? pack their bags and go back home? How did they not want to sit under the Westmoreland sun? How did they not say F this and go? I couldn’t understand it..
God was speaking to me through their experiences telling me to keep going, every punch or kick was a reason to get up again. Every set back was a reason to fight more, I wasn’t fighting for me anymore I was fighting for my seed, he needed stability, the baby needed me.
As the years went on each room became warmer, a picture here, a child’s smudgy handprint there. I bought some new things that I couldn’t really afford just to add a touch to the place make me feel better, I was given things to help me start again, it was nothing to them but meant everything to me. Bit by bit my house started to become a home. I thank those people that gave selflessly, no thought just gave.
I started to sing again..I had stopped singing, nothing came out, the little boy sang with me too, silly songs, I taught him backstreet boys ‘I want it that way’ he sang it better than me at times. The imaginary thorns around my house were being hacked away. I made the decision to be satisfied, God was letting me know I needed to be satisfied or I would never be truly happy.
Quite recently I went to my parents and couldn’t wait to get home. It was the weirdest feeling, the enchanted spell was broken and my house was now a Home. As I turned into my road of little homes, saw the usual dog walkers walking their dogs, and greeted the neighbours I had now gotten to know. I felt the weight of dispointment leave me I finally breathed a sigh of contentment and happiness.
It is now the end of 2020 the ‘unprecedented year’ we all forced to be at home. I managed to decorate and paint the pain away during this year, it’s amazing what a tin of Dulux can do. I also threw away many things I started a new page, my page a page I could scribble all that I wanted too. In the grand scheme of things, the home is just bricks and mortar it is really about the love that is enclosed within it. I realised that I returned to my parents home to feel the love I felt as a child because I felt unloved and uncared for at that time. I now truly understand what it is meant by ‘home is where the heart is’ I finally see that you, me, us are ‘Home’.
“Do not let your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” John 14 1-2 ❤️