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The human experience: Home

BY Debbie Ogunjobi

It’s a sound argument that every living thing has a home. For plants, it’s a special terrain, climate and atmosphere that determine the location of the home. For animals it’s more or less the same, you can be a hot weather species or cold one, you could inhabit the deep or the land but a home to a human being is a lot more different.

While animals and plants situate themselves in the area best suited for their growth, man hardly ever uses logic and information that is available to determine where to make a home. A more logical work of creation would look at factors that are favorable and based on reality in the present time but we humans are not known for our 100 per cent logic based reasoning so we decide where we make our home on memories, nostalgia and many flights of fancy.

I personally hold the view that a home is not necessarily a place of brick and mortar, a home for most humans is a feeling. A place where we feel like we belong, no matter how true or untrue that notion actually is. For most of us, our minds store up memories and feelings acquired over time and the older we get the more we mystify the concept of home.

Memories fade and hardship is often glossed over just to create an idyllic place, that if only we could get back to everything would fall into place and we would be fulfilled. A home could take the shape of a person without whom a house becomes empty and hollow; that’s why divorce or death can be so traumatic and destroy a way of life and a key element in a home is suddenly absent.

A home could be decor that is created to create a warm atmosphere such that any attempt to change anything can cause trauma, in such a place, little things here and there are collected with such love that a disaster like fire, which strips it bare of all knick knacks’ could make a house that used to be a home desolate, even when its built up again, bigger and even better.

A home could also be an environment, a place that is familiar and welcoming, familiar faces, and terrain, trees even weather; a village or city could be a home.A couple of weeks ago, a pastor brother of mine asked me to write an article on the subject of home and change for most of his congregation in diaspora and while it seemed a reasonable request and an in interesting topic, I wasn’t led in my spirit to do so and I prefer to wait for a burning desire to write on anything before putting pen to paper or is it finger to keyboard? (That’s why I normally ignore a lot of requests asking me to write on some things).

For some reason, however, I have been consumed by the concept of home lately and honestly believe the time is right to shed light. So to share what the stillness ministers, I humbly define a home as that place where you have been situated and are flourishing! That is your home, the place where you have built up a life, and have grown to what you are presently.

If you are not living in the present and have taken like an ostrich to burying your head in past and are romanticing the past, please snap out of it.The yearning for home can be triggered by many factors, it could be a voice that reminds us of a much loved one who has passed on, or even the whiff of a delicious aroma of food that we at our grandma’s table ages back, it could be the frantic energy of a bustling city; most Lagosians feel very much at home in a city like London or New York because of the very fast pace of life.

Home is a feeling of familiarity and ease, a place where we believe we can be ourselves and be accepted without question. Human beings are social creatures and feel the need to fit into their environment, so they often times look for their homes a major part of their lives. The best way to live is to actually emulate some animals who seem to have got it right; they just carry their homes with them.

The tortoise is my favourite example, it is at home anywhere it finds itself, it doesn’t pine or long, it just makes itself comfortable and gets on with life! So the big question for the day is this… where do you live and where do you consider home?

Joseph is one of the most inspirational figures in the Bible and while he considered Israel as home, as he missed his family, he actually made his home in Egypt. It was in Egypt that he built up integrity, moral fibre and achieved phenomenal success! Israel was not and can never be described as home to him as the only thing that awaited him there was sure death by a league of brothers that hated him, yes, his father loved him but that love didn’t help him when he was put in the ditch and sold as a slave.

Esther is another great example of a person whose home was outside of Israel, I don’t think she would have been queen anywhere else but in a strange land. So to those who have found Canaan outside of a nostalgic place of familiarity, you are home; exactly where you are supposed to be!!


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.