Of Heart And Home
The question, “what makes a house a home” has no definitive answer, it will change from person to person and in some cases there is no answer at all. In order to explain what home is in relation to a house, what a home may or may not be should be discussed, and an explanation of the concept “home” must be made.
Home is a concept, rather than a physical haven such as a house or an apartment. Home is a feeling, a comfort, a defense. Home is a space in which you are shielded from the brutal elements of the outside world. In many instances a dwelling can be the opposite of home. It can feel like a trap or prison. At any moment the feelings of love and security associated with “home” can crumble, leaving you lost and alone. It is all a matter of circumstance.
In turn, finding home in a house can come easily to some. Home may be a childhood house, the first apartment you rented, or even the spare bedroom in a close friend/relative’s home. The fact of the matter is that home is different for everyone. Home may be a place, a person, an object, even one’s thoughts. As a society we often assume that “home” is of holistic nature, this essay itself is an example of just that. Consequently, asking what makes a house a home is an unanswerable question. A more appropriate question would be “What helps you feel at home?”, and in that case the answer is protection, safety, feeling loved, and in some instances seclusion.
Some may argue that “the home is where the heart is” but this phrase is a pleasant idealization of what home should be. Circumstance can taint this maxim and prove it inaccurate; a house may be a home “where the heart is”, but a heart may never know home. Trauma leaves a stain of doubt in the capacity to love as well as doubt in whether or not safety will ever be obtainable. Mildew of the heart can damage one’s sense of home. An overwhelming wave of fear creeps into the souls of those distressed by their circumstance, the very circumstances that may be contained in the home itself leading to the inability to feel the sense of protection associated with this metaphorical “home.” So simply saying heart is what deems a house a home would be a false ideal.